Yes, you read it right, I support the ongoing protests, blocking the roads, getting the tolls free, “Bharat Bandh” and so on and so forth. I know, I wrote several articles in the past where I tried to explain the positives of the farm bills and I still stand by the three bills. The bills were much needed agricultural reforms. But yet here I am supporting the protests. These protests and demonstrations are not related to the contents of the bills so to say. We have to look at the bigger picture to understand the significance of the farmers protest. No, I don’t mean to insinuate that the people protesting are Khalistanis or something like that; absolutely not! What we today see as a farmer protest isn’t just a protest, its a revolution. This revolution if succeeds is going to set the tone for the next decade India.
I agree to the protesters when they complain that the central government did not seek their consent before they came up with the ordinances. I stand with them whey they say “we reject the amendments suggested by the government.” I also stand with them when they say “we are open for talks only when the center repeals the three bills.” I do this because this is in my best interest. It is going to help me in the near future. And I would suggest you do the same.
Once the government caves into this artificially created pressure and repeals the three bills, I am sure the people who I am going to support now in this protest, will support me when I will protest for my issues. Its simple, you scratch my back and I scratch yours. That’s the only reason why people who were protesting for repealing CAA are now supporting farmers protest.
What are the “black”, unjustified and fascist, laws, acts and practices I want the government to repeal? There are many, but I will list a few so as to give you a perspective. These laws affect me directly and if you have some that affect you, please feel free to mention in the comments.
Starting with the reservation laws. This has been bugging me since class XII. My best friend wanted to be a surgeon, he scored 138 out of 200 in UPCPMT, but did not get any government seat. He thought may be he was not good enough, and was fine with it till the time he came to know that our mutual friend, who we used to attend the classes with, shared our lunch boxes, played in the same team, scored just 67 and managed to get a government seat and will now be living the dream. It took a lot of time for my best friend to come out of that trauma. In addition to this, the supreme court of India also rejected the prevailing concept of reservation in 1951 but the then prime minister Pt. Nehru in all his arrogance overturned the court order. Please have a look at : When court accepted that the Caste based Reservations violate Fundamental Rights. As a matter of fact, I do support reservation to some extent, even in the name of castes. But not in the way it is being practiced. The government should have invested its time and energy in bringing a reserved category student that scored 67 to the actual cut off list of 148 instead of bringing the cut off list down to 55 just to win easy votes. That’s a fraud, it is not helping anyone not even the reserved categories. Also read: Caste based reservation violates fundamental rights of even the reserved castes!
I asked every general category person around me if the central government sought their consent before coming up with the reservation laws. No, the government didn’t. Hence, these “black” reservation laws should right away be repealed. We reject all the amendments made by the government and would be open for talks only when the laws are repealed. Otherwise, once these ongoing protest achieve their desired goals and the government repeals these three farm bills, some people just need to continue the exact same thing that is going on now for a couple more months. The setup is already there. No new system has to be defined.
Moving on to the next issue. This is an even more interesting issue than the first one. The Minority affairs! It turns out that the concept of minority commission in India is unconstitutional, as the constitution of India doesn’t give a definition of “Minority”. It uses the term Minority in Articles 29,30, 350A and 350B but does not mention anywhere as to who is to be considered as Minority. How is anybody deciding who is minority? On the basis of vote banks and elections? As per 2011 census, Hindus are in a minority (population wise) in as many as eight states in India. These are : Lakshadweep, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir. We will have to wait for the next census to see how many more states are added in this list. The interesting part is that these Hindus are not entitled for any minority benefits. They are not beneficiaries of Union Government’s 20,000 scholarships in the field of technical education of minority students. A public interest litigation was filed in the supreme court highlighting this. The petitioner had also cited an instance from Jammu and Kashmir where Muslims were 68% of the total population and yet were allotted 717 out of 753 scholarships, but not even one Hindu student got that scholarship.
Did the government seek consent from the people in the majority community before awarding any kind of benefits in the name of minority community? No, it did not. So, we reject all the amendments made by the government as far as the national commission of minorities act is concerned. We are open for talks only when the government first repeals the “black” National Commission of Minorities Act of 1992. Otherwise, once these ongoing protest achieve their desired goals and the government repeals these three farm bills, some people just need to continue the exact same thing that is going on now for a couple more months. The setup is already there. No new system has to be defined.
Having said all that, there is a major problem with these two issues. Even if the protests do happen, they will turn violent and communal in no time. Caste and religion, the two biggest pillars of our vote bank politics, I think the rest is understood. So, I brainstormed further and found some more issues which are caste and religion independent similar to the ongoing farmers protest.
Starting with the agriculture income. As per section 10(1) of Income Tax Act 1961, agriculture income is exempt from tax. As per the section 2(1A), any income generated from farmhouses, or any rent or revenue derived from land which is situated in India and is used for agricultural purposes is counted as agriculture income. As an example, if I have 25 acres of land available and I rent it to a farmer at INR 50,000 (average market rent in Punjab) per acre to him, the total 12.5 lacs that I receive as total rent would be tax free. However, if I would have rented it for something else (other than for farming) I would have paid INR 2,00,000 as tax on the exact same income. So, it is quite possible that my knowledge about agriculture says that potato is a fruit and grows on a tree but I will still be counted as a “farmer” because I make agriculture income by renting the property to farmers. That’s why India has more than 55% of the population involved in agricultural and yet agriculture contributes to just 15% of the GDP. Point to be noted here is that I am not even talking about money laundering in the name of agriculture income. You must have heard some politician growing cauliflower in pots on the terrace and making millions out of that. Every other politician is a farmer these days. Some day I will write a separate article, how, people are washing money from black to white using agriculture income. But for now it also gives a hint as to who might be protesting and why. First thing first, define a farmer!
I am not at all insinuating that the government should tax agriculture income. I just want to know if the central government sought consent from the other 1.49 crore Indians who paid tax last year and many others who have been paying taxes all their lives before, before their source of income was kept outside the purview of section 10 of Income tax act. No, the government did not. Why this discrimination with us? So we reject the amendments made in the income tax act. We are open for the talks but the government should first repeal this “black” income-tax act completely, let alone the tax slabs. Why can’t the government put this “black” law on hold? Otherwise, now you know what comes next. Don’t you? I don’t need to rewrite the same three lines over and over again. Do I?
Moving on, just a few days ago, the farmer leader Mr. Rakesh Tikait made a heart whelming speech asking why Hindu temples are not supporting them like Gurudwaras are. He was unhappy that people visit temples and make donations, but the temples don’t use the donations for public benefits like religious institutions in other religions do. I am not at all surprised by his statement. He probably needs to read Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1951. As per this law, government controls the administration of Hindu temples. This act was brought in existence by the British Raj to exploit the Hindu temples, and later instead of repealing the law Indian National Congress amended it. You can find more than enough number of petitions trying to get it repealed. The irony is that the bigoted Hindus/sanghis/right-wingers/andh-bhakts are fighting for justice the legal way but the educated, liberals, innocent poor farmers are holding cities and public properties hostage and making demands. I wonder if some people in India think that the courts are to be approached only when capital punishment for certain terrorists have to be postponed.
Once again, did the government seek consent before coming up with the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1951? No they didn’t. Hence, we reject the act and will be open for negotiations only when the “black” act is repealed. Either all the religions be included in the act or all the religions be excluded from the act, no discrimination! Otherwise… you know it. The setup is already there.
These were just a few laws that affect me, but I am sure a country with billion plus people would have a lot more issues and problems. They all could support each other and get their demands on the table one by one. Unemployed people should also be entitled for MSP (Minimum Support Package), that too in accordance with the Swaminathan Commission i.e. 1.5 times of the C2 cost. If private companies don’t hire them, the government should hire them all, does not matter if there is a demand or not exactly like the wheat/rice procurement. Life imprisonment with a minimum of 14 years is just too much; this is inhuman. It should be reduced to a couple of years or even less, criminals are also humans. Aren’t they? Did the government take any consent from the murders and rapists before coming up with these draconian laws? No it did not. This is clear fascism. The government should repeal these laws right away and then we could do a debate, discuss and come up with meaningful laws exactly how the protesters want it today. Otherwise…
I believe you would have got the point I am trying to make. It is the right time to support the protests, it is imperative that it is known as to how many days protestors need to hold roads, tolls, markets and other public places as their hostage so as to get their demands fulfilled. If it were a coalition government it would have been very easy, but now things are tough. Once the threshold value is known, protests can be better managed.
[Disclaimer: Just to clarify, it is a satire. The author does not support any practice leading to anarchy. Laws are regulations should be decided in the parliament not on streets. The author thinks that the government instead of sending their ministers for talks should be sending crisis/hostage negotiation experts.]
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