In a standoff with the government over three contentious farm laws, thousands of protesting farmers in and around Delhi observed a hunger strike, increasing the pressure on the government to blink. Since November 26 hundreds of farmers are protesting on the outskirts of Delhi, demanding repeal of the laws which they claim will reduce their earnings and give an upper hand to the corporations.
As many as 40 farmer leaders of United Farmers Front observed a hunger strike on Monday at various border points near Delhi against the Centre’s newly enacted farm laws between 8 am and 5 pm.
Here are the developments from the 19th day of the protest:
Delhi govt ministers, AAP MLAs hold ‘hunger strike’ in support of farmers’ protest
Senior Delhi government ministers and AAP MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, are sitting on a ‘hunger strike’ in support of farmers who are protesting against the Centre’s farm laws. Ministers Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, and party leader Aatishi Marlena are also present at the strike organised at the party headquarters.
This comes after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced a one-day fast in support of the farmers’ protest on Sunday.
Government ready to hold dialogue with farmers, says Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that the government is willing to hold dialogue with farmers but asserted that the recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of farmers.
“There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector ever. The recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of India’s farmers in mind”, Rajnath Singh said while addressing the annual convention of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Farmer protests continue at Delhi-Noida Border braving cold weather conditions
Even as the winter season started getting intensified in the national capital, protestors continued with their agitation against the three farm laws at the Chilla border on Monday.
In the morning, a thick layer of smog surrounded parts of the national capital leading to decreased visibility.
Despite facing such adverse weather conditions, protestors seemed determined to protest against these farm laws.
Rajasthan farmers block Delhi-Jaipur highway in Alwar
The Rajasthan farmers protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws continued to block the Delhi-Jaipur national highway at Shahjahanpur in Alwar district on Monday as police stopped them from marching towards Delhi.
With the police stopping them from proceeding towards the national capital along the state’s border with Haryana, the farmers camping at Jaisinghpur-Khera border in Shahjahanpur under the leadership of Swaraj Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav and others went on a day-long hunger strike, seeking the repeal of farm laws.
Farmers hold protests at district headquarters in Punjab, Haryana
Farmers raised slogans outside the offices of district commissioners and took out protest marches in Punjab and Haryana on Monday, following a nationwide call given by their unions against the new central laws.
The Haryana Police closed the Ambala-Patiala highway after protesters gathered at the Shambhu border point with adjoining Punjab.
We are engaging with farmers to decide on next date of talks: Agriculture Minister Tomar
The government is engaging with farmer leaders to decide on the next date of talks, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, as unions intensified their agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws and observed a day-long fast on Monday.
“The meeting will definitely happen. We are engaging with farmers,” Tomar told PTI.
The government is ready for discussion anytime. The farmer leaders have to “decide and convey” when they are ready for the next meeting, he added.
Agri laws are ‘anti-farmer’, will lead to immense inflation: Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said the new farm laws will lead to immense inflation and will only favour a few capitalists, as he termed the legislations “anti-farmer and anti-common man”.Kejriwal, who joined AAP leaders, MLAs and volunteers at the party office in observing a day-long fast in support of the protesting farmers, said the new farm laws “gives license to inflate”.
Over 2,000 women from protesting farmers’ families to join in, arrangements being made
Over 2,000 women from the families of farmers protesting against the Centre’s new agri laws at Singhu Border here will join the ongoing agitation in the coming days, as peasants are set to intensify their protest further to press their demands.
Farmer leaders said they are making arrangements to host the women members coming from various parts of Punjab — tents are being put up, a separate langar is being planned, and extra temporary toilets are being arranged.
TN farmers protest, express solidarity to ryots’ day long fast
Farmers groups on Monday protested in various parts of Tamil Nadu urging the Central government to withdraw the new farm laws, while DMK and its allies announced a hunger strike here on December 18.
The protests were held in regions including Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai, Karur and Tiruchirappalli seeking repeal of farm laws and in solidarity with farmers in Delhi who observed a hunger strike today, Tamil Nadu All Farmers Associations Coordination Committee president P R Pandian said.
DMK and its allies including the Left parties announced a hunger strike on December 18 here to express solidarity with farmers protest and their demand for repeal of the three laws.
Union minister Gehlot appeals farmers to call off protests
Terming the new agri laws “totally pro-farmer”, Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot on Monday appealed to cultivators to call off their protests and hold talks with the Centre.
Speaking to reporters here, Gehlot said that people in general have appreciated the Centre’s efforts in the farm sector.
“Only farmers from two to three states are trying for a rollback (of the three agri laws),” he said referring to the ongoing protests by agriculturists on the borders of Delhi.
Farmers ‘apologise’ to people with ‘folded hands’ for road blockade, inconvenience
With some key roads blocked for several days now due to their protest against the three new agri laws, an umbrella body of farmers Monday apologised with “folded hands” to people for the inconvenience caused to them, but said they were carrying out the demonstration “out of compulsion”.
Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the protests at Delhi border points, distributed handbills in Hindi to commuters on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway near Haryana-Rajasthan borders, where hundreds of farmers have been camping for almost past three weeks now, to convey their apology, and also reiterate their demand for legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP).
(With inputs from agency)