In the early 1980s, farmers from Naragund-Navalgund raised their voice against the state government, which was strictly and stubbornly collecting the irrigation tax. This protest made the farmers to barge into the Tahasildar office, which forced the authorities to order for Lathi charge and Golibar on the protestors, which killed three farmers.
This incident angered the ‘Federation of Sugarcane Growers’ in Shivamogga, which slowly started spreading across the state, where the farmers staged a silent protest by tying the black-cloth to their mouth. As the Federation which was formed by progressive minds was only limited to address the issues faced by Sugarcane growers, and also the name was conveying small message, the farmers renamed it as ‘Raitha Haagu Karmika Raitha Sangha’ (Farmer and Farm labourers Association). This further lead the farmers protest and staged the hunger strike against the brutality on the farmers by the state government.
Later, this movement expanded its leg across state, where again it was renamed as ‘Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha’ and got its first ever and official office bearers. HS Rudrappa – President; ND Sundaresh – Chief Secretary; Professor MD Nanjundaswamy – Convenor and Chikkaswamy – Treasurer were appointed as the office bearers for the association.
The farmer revolution in the state, which got its birth in Shivamogga extended its leg to North Karnataka, Old-Mysuru region, and started bearing its roots in Villages and Taluk level at Hassan. This movement was beefed-up by the progressive thinking youth called Manjunath Datta and Venkatesh Murthy, who took it towards the Land of Sugar – Mandya.
In 1982, as the sign of Farmers movement in state, Green board was put-up in Bellale village, Pandavpura taluk, Mandya district. H Srinivas and KS Puttanaiah were appointed as the District President and Vice-president respectively. Motivated by the movement, few farmers started raising voice against the injustice towards farming community by sporting the green shawls.
Mandya district, which had become of hub for farmers movement witnessed another brutality by the government on farmers in 1982. The then Congress government led by Gundurao ordered for the lathi charge and golibar on the farmers, who were protesting against the injustice and step-motherly attitude by Chamundeshwari Sugar Factory by blocking the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway in Gejjalgere, Maddur taluk. This incident took the lives of two farmers – Nathappa and Sidde Gowda.
These two brutal incidents, which was expected to put down the farmer’s morality, costed the Gundurao’s government heavily in the next Vidhan Sabha elections. ‘Raitharige Gundikkida Gundurayara Sarkaravannu Kithogeyiri’ (Dethrone the Gundurao’s government which shot bullet at the farmers), this message from Raitha Sangha made all the farmers obey the orders. Taking the benefit of the situation, late Janatadala leader and former Chief Minister Ramkrishna Hegde campaigned by making promises as– ‘Green shawl is my father and green board is my mother’ (Hasiru Shawlu Namma Appa and Hasiru board Namma avva), and got votes. This also uprooted the strong Congress government and brought Janatadala rule in the state. But, today the injustice from Ramakrishna Hegde government towards farmers is a history.