Jagan Mohan Reddy and his government claim that their Government is “Rythu Rajyam”, unfortunately, the ground reality is quite different from what they claim. There is not a single farmer family in the State that has not shed tears under Jagan Mohan Reddy’s rule.
The Chief Minister’s decisions and governance made the State climb up to the third rank in the country in the terms of farmer suicides, according to the recently released Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India Report 2019 and further pushing the farmers of the State into a tough phase of survival. According to an assessment by farmers’ body Rythu Swarajya Vedika, between April & May close to 45 farmers have committed suicide in the state. Out of them, 25 farmer suicides are from Kurnool district.
Ever since YSRCP assumed power, suppressing the farmers’ voice has been the sole motto of the government. YSRCP in its election manifesto promised that financial assistance of Rs. 12,500 would be provided as an input subsidy to farmers and will be in addition to the central government assistance. But after assuming power the YSRCP cleverly reduced the assistance to Rs. 13,500 per annum inclusive of assistance from the central government which is close to 30% less than what was promised. Later on, to further suppress the farmer community in the State the Jagan Mohan Reddy Government released a G.O. No. 99 on 25 September 2019 scrapping G.O. No. 38 released by the previous TDP Government which aimed to make farmers debt-free.
Further on 18 December 2019, Jagan Mohan Reddy had come up with a proposal of three capitals in which the present de facto capital Amaravati would be made Legislative Capital, Visakhapatnam would be made the Executive Capital and Kurnool would be made the Judicial Capital. Farmers from 29 villages of Amaravati gave up more than 34,000 acres of fertile land for the greenfield capital of Amaravati and were left betrayed by this decision of the YSRCP government. For over 300 days the farmers of Amaravati continue to protest against Jagan Mohan Reddy’s decision and unfortunately, the ruling party leaders at various instances have demeaned the farmers by calling them “paid artists”.
Very recently the Andhra Pradesh Police, possibly under immense pressure from the government filed cases against these peaceful protestors and handcuffed seven farmers who were silently protesting against the three capital decisions of the Jagan Mohan Reddy Government. Among the handcuffed farmers five were from the Dalit community and the remaining two belong to Other Backward Classes.
In one of the landmark verdicts of the highest judicial authority in India, the Supreme Court in the case of Prem Shankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration (1980) held that indiscriminate use of handcuffs by the police is a violation of the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian constitution. Also, the handcuffing of an individual is legal only if the arrestee is: (a) involved in serious non-bailable offenses (b) previously convicted of a crime, of desperate character, likely to commit suicide, or likely to attempt to escape. The handcuffing of farmers is a violation of human rights and a deliberate attempt by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and his party leaders to create fear among the protestors. It is unfortunate that the Chief Minister has remained silent on the issue concerning the annadatas of Andhra Pradesh.