The Maharashtra chapter of a national farmers’ organisation along with a women’s organisation on Thursday marched against the Farm Acts, in Wada and Palghar. The protests come at a time when farmers from Punjab and Haryana, holding a dharna at Delhi borders. Large-scale rasta rokos took place in various districts and farming community expressed solidarity with their counterparts.
At Wada taluka in Palghar, 500 women members of the AIDWA and AIKS members marched from the latter’s office to the tehsildar’s office. They chanted slogans like ‘Hitler-Vitler nahi chala toh Modi-Vodi bhi nahi chalega’, ‘Mahilaon ke achchhe din kahaan gaye’.
Mariam Dhawale, All India General Secretary, AIDWA, explained that the farm bills will adversely affect the farming community, especially women. “Around 74 per cent of the rural female workforce is employed in agriculture. Of these, only 12.8 per cent are landowners. Hence, a majority of the women in agriculture are ‘unseen labour’. Whenever someone thinks of a farmer, they think of a man, a woman is not considered a farmer. But it is the women who face most problems, such as land compensation for widows of farmers.”
Dhawale said that the farm Acts provide for the corporate sector or individual investors to directly contact landowners and farmers. “This increases the problems of women farmers because the land is not in their name. They will be excluded from the so-called benefits. Also, many women will lose out on work due to mechanisation and digitisation, which has already increased landlessness and unemployment in the rural sector,” Dhawale added.