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Agri Minister should meet farmers ASAP: Why wait till December 3?

The protesting farmers will now be ‘contained’ in a massive open area, as the cold wave intensifies in Delhi.

Sabrangindia 28 Nov 2020

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

While it is being seen as a ‘victory’ for the thousands of farmers once they were allowed to enter Delhi borders, the government has not done them any favours. The farmers are citizens of India and it is their right to travel to any state at any time. It is also their right to protest laws and actions they deem unjust. The government, it seems, has just taken a step back, perhaps to buy itself time to strategize, as it faces the courage and resilience, and above all the unity of the farmers from across the country.  

On Friday, the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar asked them to put off their agitation and promised ‘talks’ on December 3. He also wants them to quit the agitation in “view of Covid-19 and the winters”. Tomar said, “The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers… We have invited farmers’ organisations for another round of talks on December 3. I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of Covid-19 and the winters.”

The farmers unions have maintained that they, the major stakeholder were not consulted before the Parliament  passed the The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 -- in its monsoon session. Farmers’ organisations are demanding that the laws be repealed, and replaced with a new Act that ensures a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all agriculture produce in the country.

The protesting farmers are now being made to camp in a massive open area, even as the cold wave conditions continue to intensify in Delhi. They have to wait here for the next six days, unless the minister has a change of heart and calls them for a meeting earlier. The state government has stated they will be supplied drinking water.

Some of the local leaders have planned to supply food as well.

Though it is not known if arrangements have been made for providing shelter against the bitter cold to the farmers. Like the anti CAA-NRC-NPR protests that began in Shaheen Bagh, on the other end of the city in December 2019, the farmers too may be helped by citizen volunteers, gurudwara and mosque volunteers who have been already sharing food and water in solidarity with the protesting farmers, as they did before. "Won't go back until our demands are met," farmers who entered Delhi through the Tikri border told NDTV. 

“This is a revolution,” said a young farmer engaging in a passionate discussion with a police officer. 

 

 

The farmers have reached here after nearly two days of facing the onslaught of tear gas, water cannons, razor wire, and concrete barricades, and even trenches on the highways that the police and paramilitary forces were ordered to combat the march with. It was only after hours of clashes with the protesting farmers at the border areas of Delhi-Haryana-Uttar Pradesh that the police finally allowed the farmers to enter the National Capital from the Singhu border which connects Haryana and Delhi. However, according to news reports even the situation at the border remained chaotic and the police had used tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse the farmers. 

Meanwhile the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s refusal to allow ‘temporary jails’ being set up in stadiums will earn them support and goodwill from the farming community. Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders had urged the Delhi Chief Minister to welcome the farmers into NCR and reject the demand of Delhi Police to use stadiums as jails. Once that was done they claimed it as a AAP victory, and that the party was with the farmers.

 

Kejriwal had called the three farming bills that they are protesting, “anti-farmer” and said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central government “instead of withdrawing this bill”, assaulted the farmers with water cannons.

 

While the Delhi government formally denied the permission sought by Delhi Police to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons, more metro stations were closed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). This will slow down those wanting to reach Burari from across the city, to join the farmers in solidarity. 

Only after battling teargas shells and water cannons for hours on Friday at the Delhi-Haryana border in Sonipat and Jhajjar, thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana were allowed in the evening to enter through the Tikri border and hold their protest at Burari in north-west Delhi.  But by then the farmers had faced teargas shells and water cannons for hours on Friday at the Delhi-Haryana border in Sonipat and Jhajjar. 

At the Singhu border, which falls on the Grand Trunk road, where thousands of tracker trolleys are stranded with farmers, police did not allow entry till late in the evening. Haryana police officials told the media that there were many farmers in cars, buses and tracker trolleys headed towards Delhi from different highways in the state. 

According to ground reports from the Singhu border, on the Grand Trunk road, thousands of farmers with their tracker trolleys were stranded as the Police did not allow them entry till late in the evening. Haryana police officials said there were many farmers in cars, buses and tracker trolleys headed towards Delhi from different highways in the state, stated news reports. 

Farmer bodies in at least 12 districts of Uttar Pradesh held protests on Friday, stated news reports adding that they too will march towards Delhi from Saturday. Dharmendra Malik, state spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, said the union decided that farmers would start marching towards Delhi in their tractor trolleys.

“Five lakh farmers had staged a protest in Delhi for seven days in 1988 under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Tikait, compelling the then Rajiv Gandhi government at the Centre to accept their demands. Farmers would force the Modi government to withdraw the bills,” he told the media.

It is not only in Delhi that the farmers are protesting. According to a news report in The Hindustan Times, more protests were observed on Friday in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as well. More farmers may congregate at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh interstate border on Saturday as from UP, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, to join the Punjab and Haryana farmers protesting in Delhi. A large number of farmers from Madhya Pradesh, who were trying to join the protest of farmers from Punjab and Haryana in Delhi, staged a protest near Agra at national highway-3 on Friday as UP police didn’t allow them to go further towards the Capital, stated the report.

According to Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sangh general secretary Akhilesh Singh, “Farmers from MP had been trying to reach Delhi to join the peaceful protest since Wednesday night but UP police were stopping them. On Friday morning, they sat on a dharna near Agra on national highway-3 and halted traffic for more than five hours.” Later in the evening, they were allowed to proceed towards the Capital on the Delhi-Mathura-Agra highway. The news report added that All India Kisan Sabha members from Rajasthan mobilised farmers from Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Sikar districts as well. 

Farmers from Uttarakhand, Uddham Singh Nagar, were stopped in UP’s Rampur, and started an indefinite sit-in at Rampur national highway and blocked traffic. Tajendra Singh Virk, president, Terai Kisan Sangathan, Uddham Singh Nagar, was quoted by the media: “UP police are not allowing us to head to Delhi on the pretext of the Covid-19 outbreak. We have decided that we will continue our sit-in and camp here till the police allow us to go to Delhi.” Protests were also held in Maharashtra’s Thane, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Sangli and Wardha, stated news reports, adding that some may join the Delhi protests too.

Punjab and Haryana farmers protesting in Delhi got support from their counterparts in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, who will join the stir in the next few days, farmer leaders from these states said. Protests were observed on Friday in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as well. There were protests in several places in Maharashtra such as Thane, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Sangli and Wardha with farm leaders saying they would decide in a few days whether to join the stir in Delhi. 

All India Kisan Sabha members from Rajasthan mobilised farmers from Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Sikar districts to join the stir. “The farmers from Rajasthan will be joining the Delhi Chalo movement in the next few days. We have held solidarity protests in various parts of the state on Friday,” said Amra Ram, a former lawmaker and general secretary of the Kisan Sabha. Farmers from Uttarakhand, Uddham Singh Nagar, were stopped in UP’s Rampur from proceeding to Delhi. They started an indefinite sit-in at Rampur national highway. They were joined by local farmers from UP.

Related

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Agri Minister should meet farmers ASAP: Why wait till December 3?

The protesting farmers will now be ‘contained’ in a massive open area, as the cold wave intensifies in Delhi.

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

While it is being seen as a ‘victory’ for the thousands of farmers once they were allowed to enter Delhi borders, the government has not done them any favours. The farmers are citizens of India and it is their right to travel to any state at any time. It is also their right to protest laws and actions they deem unjust. The government, it seems, has just taken a step back, perhaps to buy itself time to strategize, as it faces the courage and resilience, and above all the unity of the farmers from across the country.  

On Friday, the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar asked them to put off their agitation and promised ‘talks’ on December 3. He also wants them to quit the agitation in “view of Covid-19 and the winters”. Tomar said, “The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers… We have invited farmers’ organisations for another round of talks on December 3. I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of Covid-19 and the winters.”

The farmers unions have maintained that they, the major stakeholder were not consulted before the Parliament  passed the The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 -- in its monsoon session. Farmers’ organisations are demanding that the laws be repealed, and replaced with a new Act that ensures a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all agriculture produce in the country.

The protesting farmers are now being made to camp in a massive open area, even as the cold wave conditions continue to intensify in Delhi. They have to wait here for the next six days, unless the minister has a change of heart and calls them for a meeting earlier. The state government has stated they will be supplied drinking water.

Some of the local leaders have planned to supply food as well.

Though it is not known if arrangements have been made for providing shelter against the bitter cold to the farmers. Like the anti CAA-NRC-NPR protests that began in Shaheen Bagh, on the other end of the city in December 2019, the farmers too may be helped by citizen volunteers, gurudwara and mosque volunteers who have been already sharing food and water in solidarity with the protesting farmers, as they did before. "Won't go back until our demands are met," farmers who entered Delhi through the Tikri border told NDTV. 

“This is a revolution,” said a young farmer engaging in a passionate discussion with a police officer. 

 

 

The farmers have reached here after nearly two days of facing the onslaught of tear gas, water cannons, razor wire, and concrete barricades, and even trenches on the highways that the police and paramilitary forces were ordered to combat the march with. It was only after hours of clashes with the protesting farmers at the border areas of Delhi-Haryana-Uttar Pradesh that the police finally allowed the farmers to enter the National Capital from the Singhu border which connects Haryana and Delhi. However, according to news reports even the situation at the border remained chaotic and the police had used tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse the farmers. 

Meanwhile the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s refusal to allow ‘temporary jails’ being set up in stadiums will earn them support and goodwill from the farming community. Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders had urged the Delhi Chief Minister to welcome the farmers into NCR and reject the demand of Delhi Police to use stadiums as jails. Once that was done they claimed it as a AAP victory, and that the party was with the farmers.

 

Kejriwal had called the three farming bills that they are protesting, “anti-farmer” and said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central government “instead of withdrawing this bill”, assaulted the farmers with water cannons.

 

While the Delhi government formally denied the permission sought by Delhi Police to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons, more metro stations were closed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). This will slow down those wanting to reach Burari from across the city, to join the farmers in solidarity. 

Only after battling teargas shells and water cannons for hours on Friday at the Delhi-Haryana border in Sonipat and Jhajjar, thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana were allowed in the evening to enter through the Tikri border and hold their protest at Burari in north-west Delhi.  But by then the farmers had faced teargas shells and water cannons for hours on Friday at the Delhi-Haryana border in Sonipat and Jhajjar. 

At the Singhu border, which falls on the Grand Trunk road, where thousands of tracker trolleys are stranded with farmers, police did not allow entry till late in the evening. Haryana police officials told the media that there were many farmers in cars, buses and tracker trolleys headed towards Delhi from different highways in the state. 

According to ground reports from the Singhu border, on the Grand Trunk road, thousands of farmers with their tracker trolleys were stranded as the Police did not allow them entry till late in the evening. Haryana police officials said there were many farmers in cars, buses and tracker trolleys headed towards Delhi from different highways in the state, stated news reports. 

Farmer bodies in at least 12 districts of Uttar Pradesh held protests on Friday, stated news reports adding that they too will march towards Delhi from Saturday. Dharmendra Malik, state spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, said the union decided that farmers would start marching towards Delhi in their tractor trolleys.

“Five lakh farmers had staged a protest in Delhi for seven days in 1988 under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Tikait, compelling the then Rajiv Gandhi government at the Centre to accept their demands. Farmers would force the Modi government to withdraw the bills,” he told the media.

It is not only in Delhi that the farmers are protesting. According to a news report in The Hindustan Times, more protests were observed on Friday in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as well. More farmers may congregate at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh interstate border on Saturday as from UP, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, to join the Punjab and Haryana farmers protesting in Delhi. A large number of farmers from Madhya Pradesh, who were trying to join the protest of farmers from Punjab and Haryana in Delhi, staged a protest near Agra at national highway-3 on Friday as UP police didn’t allow them to go further towards the Capital, stated the report.

According to Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sangh general secretary Akhilesh Singh, “Farmers from MP had been trying to reach Delhi to join the peaceful protest since Wednesday night but UP police were stopping them. On Friday morning, they sat on a dharna near Agra on national highway-3 and halted traffic for more than five hours.” Later in the evening, they were allowed to proceed towards the Capital on the Delhi-Mathura-Agra highway. The news report added that All India Kisan Sabha members from Rajasthan mobilised farmers from Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Sikar districts as well. 

Farmers from Uttarakhand, Uddham Singh Nagar, were stopped in UP’s Rampur, and started an indefinite sit-in at Rampur national highway and blocked traffic. Tajendra Singh Virk, president, Terai Kisan Sangathan, Uddham Singh Nagar, was quoted by the media: “UP police are not allowing us to head to Delhi on the pretext of the Covid-19 outbreak. We have decided that we will continue our sit-in and camp here till the police allow us to go to Delhi.” Protests were also held in Maharashtra’s Thane, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Sangli and Wardha, stated news reports, adding that some may join the Delhi protests too.

Punjab and Haryana farmers protesting in Delhi got support from their counterparts in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, who will join the stir in the next few days, farmer leaders from these states said. Protests were observed on Friday in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as well. There were protests in several places in Maharashtra such as Thane, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Sangli and Wardha with farm leaders saying they would decide in a few days whether to join the stir in Delhi. 

All India Kisan Sabha members from Rajasthan mobilised farmers from Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Sikar districts to join the stir. “The farmers from Rajasthan will be joining the Delhi Chalo movement in the next few days. We have held solidarity protests in various parts of the state on Friday,” said Amra Ram, a former lawmaker and general secretary of the Kisan Sabha. Farmers from Uttarakhand, Uddham Singh Nagar, were stopped in UP’s Rampur from proceeding to Delhi. They started an indefinite sit-in at Rampur national highway. They were joined by local farmers from UP.

Related

Top 10 Moments of November 27, 2020
Top 10 moments of November 26, 2020
Second peasant strike in two months garners even bigger support!
LIVE Updates on All India General Strike and Peasants' Protest 2020
Right Wing media working overtime to discredit farmers?
We will stop your march at all cost: Political message to farmers?

 

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