Updated: June 27, 2021 9:21:12 am
As their protest at Delhi’s borders against the three farm laws completes seven months, farm leaders Saturday staged a protest outside Lt-Governor Anil Baijal’s residence amid heavy police presence. While protesters claimed they were detained by police and released shortly after, police denied this and said they were only removed from the spot.
As the farmers marched to the capital earlier in the day, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) restricted movement at some of their stations. “As advised by Delhi Police, in view of security reasons, three Metro stations of Yellow Line namely, Vishwavidyalaya, Civil Lines and Vidhan Sabha will remain closed for the public from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday,” DMRC said in a statement.
Farmers remained firm on meeting the L-G and personally handing over a memorandum – addressed to the President – but were told he could not meet them due to health reasons. Urging the President to accept their demands, the memorandum prepared by Samyukt Kisan Morcha states: “Through this memorandum, we bring to you the anguish, anger of crores of farming families of the country. We hope you will direct the Union Government to accept legitimate demands of the farmers’ movement, repeal the three anti-farmer laws and to enact a law that will guarantee remunerative MSP at C2+50% for all farmers. This is not a movement only to save farming and farmers of the country, but also the democracy of our country.”
It further says the government is not “listening to ‘mann ki baat’ and only paying heed to corporates”. Yudhveer Singh, a farmer leader who alleged he was detained, claimed: “Police manhandled us. We were taken to Wazirabad Police Lines. Our demand was very simple. When we got to know L-G was unwell, we cooperated and said we could do a video conference… the administration eventually arranged a virtual meeting and we handed o our demands to the L-G office.”
A senior police officer from North district said: “They went to give a memorandum which the secretaries/officials accepted but then a group of protesters started arguing that they want to meet the L-G. As the memorandum had already been received, they weren’t allowed but they kept protesting. Police removed them and shifted them to Wazirabad. The farmers then interacted with the L-G on a video call. Nobody was detained.”
Hundreds of farmers from Punjab had arrived at Delhi’s Singhu border on November 26 last year. Farm leaders said they marked June 26 as “Save Agriculture, Save Democracy” day, with protests taking place in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Jharkhand and Karnataka.
At Ghazipur border, hundreds of farmers joined the protest from different parts of Western UP, under the leadership of Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait. During the day, as reports about Tikait’s arrest started doing the rounds on social media, Delhi Police promptly clarified the reports were fake and said action would be taken against those spreading such news.
At Singhu, nearly 70-80 people gathered at the main stage to listen to speeches. “Seven months is still less; we can stay here till 2024. This is just the trailer,” said Manjeet, a farmer from Bhatinda.
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