NEW DELHI: Women farmers would be severely affected if the new farm laws are not repealed, said activists at a press conference on Wednesday.
Mariam Dhawale from the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) said women would be pushed further to the margins of landlessness and subsequently, into the poverty cycle.
There was an urgent need to protect the rights of women farmers, said experts. Civil society organisations, academics and activists also condemned the way the government has dealt with the farmers.
"We are alarmed at the repressive tactics to suppress farmer's protests across the country and the arbitrary imposition of false cases on farmer activists. We strongly condemn the brutal repression of the struggle, tear-gassing and water cannoning on the Delhi borders in the biting cold," said the statement.
"We believe that these laws will lead to further landlessness and destitution because the laws permit the unsparing loot by the lobby of corporate producers," said the statement.
Journalist P Sainath said farmers were extremely critical of how the media's editorial policies on the protest.
"Farmers at the gates of Delhi are fighting much larger issues than just those three laws. I also believe that they are aware of it," Sainath, adding the laws would affect society as a whole.
R Ramakumar from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) said the government should start unconditional talks with the farmers.
"These three Acts that we are talking about are unconstitutional," he said. It should have been left to states on how to regulate contract farming and the laws would not benefit the farmers in any way, he added.
It would introduce a new set f corporate players in the country and make farmers more disadvantaged, said Ramakumar.
Experts sought the withdrawal of cases imposed on the struggling farmers and leaders of the farmers' organisations.
"Farmers' organisations have been consistently raising the demands of loan waivers and fixation of a minimum support price on the basis of the report of the Swaminathan Commission.
"We seek the immediate grant of loan waivers for farmers, especially widows of farmers who have committed suicide and those who have taken loans from microfinance companies and self help groups," said the statement issued by academics and civil society organisations.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)