Fifteen kisan leaders and activists of the All India Kisan Mahasabha (part of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee AIKSCC) led by National Secretary Comrade Ishwari Prasad Kushwaha were arrested on the morning of 23 December 2020 from the Ambedkar Statue at Hazratganj Crossroads.
In response to the nationwide call given by the AIKSCC including farmers’ organizations participating in the ongoing movement at the Delhi borders for the last 27 days, AIKM had declared a one-day hunger strike on 23 December. As soon as the kisan leaders arrived to start the hunger strike at the dharna spot near the Ambedkar Statue, they were surrounded by the police. A clash ensued when the police started snatching away the farmers’ banners. Later the police took all the arrested kisan leaders and activists to the Eco Garden in Lucknow, where they continued their hunger strike.
Comrade Ishwari Prasad said that Yogi Raj has turned into Super Jungle Raj. He said that farmers are neither misled nor under any delusion. This is an existential battle for farmers and the poor. These black laws will not just destroy farmers; as government purchase at Mandis end, distribution of rations through PDS at cheap rates will also end. He said that this movement has become a nationwide movement. The government must repeal these three anti-farm laws and the Electricity Bill 2020 and start positive talks with the farmers.
Apart from Comrade Ishwari, the leaders arrested include AIKM National Council member Afroze Alam, CPIML Lucknow District in-charge Ramesh Sengar, Kisan leader from Hardoi Om Prakash, Mohd Kamil Khan Advocate, Madhusudan Magan, Rambabu Singh, Satish Rao, Ram Jeevan Rana, Ram Dhani Pasi, Ram Naresh Chaudhury, Ram Gopal, Ram Naresh Pasi and others.
Kisan leaders and activists on hunger strike at Allahabad under the Ekjutata Manch banner have been arrested by the police, including RYA State Secretary Sunil Maurya, Left leaders Akhil Vikalp, Naseem Ansari, Anand Malviya and AISA leader Vivek.
AIKM and CPIML activists including District President Om Prakash Patel and Secretary Bhakt Prakash Shrivastave sat on hunger strike at Kelhat Bazaar in Mirzapur. Hunger strike dharnas were also held at Azamgarh, Gorakhpur, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Ballia, Chandauli, Sonbhadra, Jaunpur, Gonda, Mathura, Sitapur and other Districts.
The CPIML State unit has strongly condemned the arrests as the Yogi government’s autocratic and anti-democracy action and demanded the unconditional release of all the arrested activists. State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav said that on the one hand the Yogi government is making a show of honoring Chaudhury Charan Singh and on the other hand farmers are not allowed even to do a peaceful hunger strike. He said that until the main demands of the farmers are met, the movement will be intensified and strengthened each day.
At another program in the capital Lucknow, writers and cultural activists held a hunger strike at the IPTA office in Kaisarbagh. They included Samkaleen Janmat Editor and CPIML Politburo member Ramji Rai, former Lucknow University VC Dr Rooprekha Verma, IPTA activist Rakesh, Jan Sanskriti Manch activists Kaushal Kishore and Vimal Kishore, Janvadi Lekhak Sangh poet Nalini Ranjan and many other writers, poets and thinkers.