Updated: May 27, 2021 3:27:56 am
Farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws at Delhi borders Wednesday observed a ‘black day’ to mark six months of the agitation, and burned effigies of the government.
Though the crowds at the three borders have thinned, farm leaders said that agitation will continue till 2024 if their demands are not met. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, during a press conference, also reiterated that farmers will call off the protest only once the three farm laws are repealed.
“It is an absolutely unprecedented movement. Nowhere in the world has something like this been seen. The government continues to keep farmers in the dark and are not listening to their demands. We do not know how this (protest) will end. But we will not move. Even if we have to sit here till 2024, we will do so till our demands are met,” said Tikait.
There will be similar protests in other states, including West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra, in coordination with farmers across the country, farm leaders said.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, arrived at Delhi borders on November 26 last year to stage a sit-in against the farm laws. In days that followed, the protests grew as thousands of farmers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states joined in. The farmers have been at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders.
Tikait said the government is refusing to make a law on MSP, a point that has been raised by farmers ever since the legislation came into effect. He said the government has made laws without consulting the farmers, compelling them to protest. “If you have to make laws on agriculture, then talk to us. You can’t make laws sitting in Delhi without consulting the farmer. They will not make laws in the interest of farmers since companies need to profit. When I asked for bajra atta in Delhi I got it for Rs 65. They will buy it for Rs 10 from the farmer. The farmers have no recourse,” said Tikait.
Earlier this year, the government had agreed to put the laws on hold for 18 months subject to changes suggested by an expert panel. The farmers had rejected the proposal, reiterating their demand for a complete repeal of the laws.
On allegations of these protests becoming super-spreader events in the wake of Covid, Tikait said, “We all agree that Covid-19 is a bigger problem and yet the government is not willing to concede to our demands and let the protest end. The government has turned a blind eye to people dying on the streets. If the government wills, we can end the protest. But the onus is on them.”
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