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Farmers’ Protests: Film Fraternity Expresses Solidarity With Farmers

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Members of the film fraternity have expressed solidarity with farmers, who have been protesting at the Singhu and Tikri border points in New Delhi against the Farm Bills that were passed by the Centre recently.

The Centre, in September had passed three bills -The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, in a bid to give more “freedom” to farmers and deregulate the agricultural sector in India. However, according to a report by Times Now, farmers fear that opening up the economy through the Farm Bills can kill their safety net- the Minimum Support Price (MSP) guarantee- and hamper their livelihood under the pretence of free trade and platform.

A war of words erupted between Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh and actor Kangana Ranaut after Ranaut posted a tweet (now deleted) on November 27 claiming that an 82-year-old woman, who had taken part in the farmers protest to be Bilkis Bano- one of the women who had protested in New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act. On Wednesday, Dosanjh shared a BBC interview of the lady identifying her as Mahinder Kaur and called out Ranaut for misidentification. Quick to react, Ranaut hit back at Dosanjh, calling it a drama, and said that she does not know the woman whom Dosanjh was referring to.

On Thursday, Tamil actor Karthi put out a statement on social media saying that he stands united with the farmers and expressed his dissatisfaction over the Farm Bills.

His statement read, “This new law and bill in effect has founded deep fear in the minds of the farmers that it may remove any price/statutory support mechanism available to them and their produce, forcing them into unfamiliar territory of issues due to potential aggressive pricing and hoarding.” He also requested for reconsidering the implementation of the Farm Bills.

Television host and actor Kapil Sharma also posted his support for the farmers and requested not to politicise the issue and called for a resolution through negotiation.

Actor, music director, and screenwriter Shashank Arora came in support of farmers.

Taking a dig at the boycott culture on social media, actor Taapsee Pannu posted on Twitter, “Chalo now let’s not waste time and quickly #BoycottFood come on twitter you can do it.”

Actor Swara Bhasker condemned the use of water cannons on protesting farmers. She came in support of Dosanjh and wrote on Twitter, “Diljit Dosanjh is a STAR! Dil-jit actually! @diljitdosanjh”

Several actors and personalities hailing from Punjab also expressed their solidarity with the farmers on social media.

The protests have been ongoing since the reforms were passed in September. Farmers moved to the border points of New Delhi on November 26 and began to protest at Singhu and Tikri borders, for the ninth consecutive day on Friday, demanding the Centre’s withdrawal of the reforms.

Though farmers all over the country have expressed their dissatisfaction over the Bills, the largest voice of protest comes from Punjab and Haryana, which are major producers of rice and wheat and one of the biggest beneficiaries of MSP. On Friday, after a round of discussions held with the Centre did not yield the desired response, the protesting farmers declared a Bharat Bandh on December 8. Another round of talks between both sides is slated for Saturday.

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