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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Farmers’ Protest HIGHLIGHTS: Protesting farmers refuse to budge, say ‘demands are non-negotiable’

After the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), yet another NDA constituent, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), has expressed unhappiness over the farm laws, claiming it would have to rethink being in the alliance unless the legislations are scrapped.

By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, Gurgaon, New Delhi |
Updated: December 1, 2020 7:35:11 am
New laws help farmers, say PM, Shah; key Ministers meet on way forwardFarmer leaders hold a press conference at Singhu Border on Sunday. (Express Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

Farmers protesting against the Centre’s new agri laws at Delhi border points on Monday said they have come to the national capital for a “decisive battle” and asserted that they will continue their agitation until their demands are met. Addressing a press conference at Singhu border, a representative of protesting farmers said that they want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their “mann ki baat’. He added, “our demands are non-negotiable,” and claimed the ruling party “will have to pay a heavy price” if it does not heed to their concerns.

After the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), yet another NDA constituent, the Rajasthan-based Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), has expressed unhappiness over the farm laws, claiming it would have to rethink being in the alliance unless the legislations are scrapped. In a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah Monday, Beniwal, MP from Nagaur, said in Hindi: “By drawing your attention to the farmer protests against the three bills, I would like to request you to immediately take action to withdraw these bills. The people who feed the country are agitating amid this extreme winter and the Covid-19 pandemic, which does not reflect well on the government.”

Amid ongoing protests by farmers at Singhu and Tikri borders, the Delhi Traffic Police on Monday advised commuters to take alternate routes to enter and exit Haryana. Both the border points at Singhu and Tikri are closed as the farmers have rejected the Centre’s offer to move to the Burari Park in New Delhi. On Sunday, farmers announced that they would blockade five points of entry into Delhi — Sonipat, Rohtak, Jaipur, Ghaziabad-Hapur, and Mathura — in the coming days.

Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar met last night at BJP chief JP Nadda’s residence, hours after the farmers protesting in and around Delhi rejected the Centre’s invitation for conditional talks. During the day, several leaders of farmers’ groups gave speeches from atop tractors on the Haryana side of the Singhu Border as Delhi Police remained stationed behind barriers mounted with barbed wire. More farmers were likely to join the protest over the next two days, the leaders said.

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Read highlights on farmers' protest

01:00 (IST)01 Dec 2020
Kumaraswamy asks Centre to hold talks with agitating farmers

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Monday asked the Centre to hold talks with protesting farmers at the borders of Delhi to remove misgivings they have on the new agri-marketing laws. "The #FarmersProtest in Delhi against the Centre's new agricultural legislation has entered the fifth day. The Centre, which has stated that such laws have been brought in to help farmers, should immediately hold talks with protesters and make efforts to remove their suspicions," the JD(S) leader tweeted. He said the suspicion among farmers and people about the laws would continue to grow further if the government did not address their concerns. PTI

22:21 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Delhi Police ups security at border as farmers threaten to block entry points

A day after the agitating farmers threatened to block all entry points to the national capital, the Delhi Police on Monday enhanced security deployment at all the borders points connecting the city with neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Rejecting the Centre's offer to hold talks once they move to the Burari ground, the farmers protesting against the new agricultural reform laws have been staying put at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders. "Delhi Police has strengthened its presence at various border points in the wake of the farmers protest. All internal and outside forces have been mobilised to the maximum," a senior police officer said.

Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava visited Singhu border to take stock of the security arrangements. (PTI)

21:46 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Punjabi singers lend support to farmers' stir

Several Punjabi singers, including Sidhu Moosewala and Babbu Maan, have lent their support to farmers who are protesting against the Centre's new farm laws at Delhi's border points for the last five days. Besides Moosewala and Maan, singers Kanwar Grewal and Harf Cheema have also joined the stir.

Moosewala, who reached the Tikri border on Monday, said that the government must address the concerns of the protesting farmers. He also said that a large number of farmers from Punjab have assembled at the Singhu and Tikri borders of the national capital and claimed that the people of Haryana too have extended immense support to the farmers' movement.

"We thank them," Moosewala said. Grewal, who has been supporting the farmers' movement, urged people to give maximum support to them through social media. (PTI)

20:49 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Farmers' protest impact: Supply of vegetables, fruits from other states impacted

The supply of vegetables and fruits to Delhi from other states has been impacted and it has been halved at Azadpur Mandi, one of Delhi's largest wholesale market, owing to the protest by farmers at the Singhu and Tikri border points of the national capital for the last five days.

Vendors in other parts of Delhi said due to curtailed supply, the wholesale rates of seasonal vegetables has gone up by Rs 50- Rs 100. They said the roadblock at Singhu and Tikri border has impacted supply of vegetables and fruits from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The arrival of vegetables and fruits to Delhi's largest wholesale market at Azadpur has been reduced by half due to the closed borders, said Adil Khan, chairman Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee at Azadpur.  'During normal days, around 2,500 trucks of vegetables and fruits used to arrive at Azadpur Mandi from other states. The number has come down to around 1,000 trucks now and if the borders remained closed for a few more days, the situation will worsen,' Khan said.

20:25 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Farmers protesting against new agri laws will stay put at UP Gate border: BKU

Farmers protesting against the Centre's new agri laws will stay put at the UP Gate border of the national capital, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Uttar Pradesh secretary Harendra Nehra said on Monday, asserting that they will not move till the legislations are rolled back. More are continuously arriving at the protest site from various districts of the state and "we are camping here" till the Centre fulfils farmers' demands, he said. BKU national president Naresh Tikait, who is at the UP Gate border, said, "We have sufficient ration to continue till the next Republic Day, if our demands are not met".

"We will not go for a dialogue at the Sant Nirankari ground in Burari in Delhi. We will talk with the government on our own conditions at the Ramlila ground in the national capital," he said. (PTI)

19:42 (IST)30 Nov 2020
In Photos | Tractor-trolleys, farm equipment turn into temporary shelters for protesting farmers

19:31 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Extending support to protesting farmers, Haryana MLA quits as livestock development board chairman

Extending his support to the farmers gathered at Delhi's borders protesting the Centre's new farm laws, Haryana MLA Sombir Sangwan on Monday tendered his resignation as chairman of the State Livestock Development Board. Sangwan is an Independent MLA supporting the BJP-JJP coalition government in the state.

In the letter to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, he said, "I have resigned from my post in support of farmers. Like the entire country, farmers from my assembly constituency Dadri are also protesting against these laws. In this situation, extending my full support to them is a priority for me and my moral duty too."

"I have given the farmers full support after listening to my inner conscience," the MLA wrote. (PTI)

19:20 (IST)30 Nov 2020
5 Left parties ask state units to coordinate, organise protests in support of agitating farmers

The Left parties on Monday called upon their state units to coordinate and organise protests in support for the farmers agitating against the three farm laws. In a joint statement, five Left parties -- the CPI(M), CPI, RSP, AIFB and CPI(ML) -- extended their complete support to and solidarity with the protests by the farmers.

"Lakhs have converged around Delhi demanding the withdrawal of the agri laws, passed in parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner, and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill," it stated.

Braving intense repression and in the midst of severe cold wave conditions, lakhs of farmers have reached Delhi. However, they are not being permitted to come to Parliament, as announced earlier, to present their demands, it stated. "The Left parties call upon all their units in the country to coordinate and organise joint solidarity protest actions in multifarious forms appropriate to the concrete local situation. The calls given by the kisan organisations, agricultural labour organisations and trade unions must be supported," the statement said. (PTI)

18:45 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Protesting farmers refuse to budge, say 'demands are non-negotiable'

Farmers protesting against the Centre's new agri laws at Delhi border points on Monday said they have come to the national capital for a "decisive battle" and asserted that they will continue their agitation until their demands are met. Addressing a press conference at Singhu border, a representative of protesting farmers said that they want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their "mann ki baat'.

"Our demands are non-negotiable," he said and claimed the ruling party "will have to pay a heavy price" if it does not heed to their concerns. "We have come here to fight a decisive battle," he said. Another farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that around 31 cases have so far been registered against protestors to "suppress" their agitation. Chaduni said that farmers will continue their agitation until their demands are met. (PTI)

17:48 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Upset over farm laws, RLP to reconsider alliance with NDA

Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) – a part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has urged the BJP-led central government to immediately repeal the three agricultural laws and hold discussions with the protesting farmers. Taking to Twitter, RLP chief Hanuman Beniwal said, “Mr Amit Shah, in view of the countrywide sentiment in support of the ongoing farmers’ movement, the recently introduced three bills related to agriculture should be immediately withdrawn. (The centre must) implement all recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, and immediately hold dialogue with farmers."

17:22 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Punjab farmers sold more paddy at higher MSP than last year: Javadekar

Punjab's farmers sold more paddy in the market this year and at a higher minimum support price (MSP) than last year, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday and urged the farmers not to "misunderstand" the newly enacted farm laws. Thousands of farmers have been protesting in the national capital against the Centre's new farm laws for five days and have threatened to block all entry points to the national capital.

Posting on his Twitter handle, Javadekar, the Minister of Environment as well as Information and Broadcasting, said, "Do not misunderstand the agricultural law. Punjab farmers sold more paddy at higher MSP in the market this year compared to last year. MSP is alive and market is also alive and government procurement is also happening."

17:18 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Taxi Unions in NCR back farmers' protest, give Centre two-day ultimatum to meet demands

The Taxi Unions in Delhi-NCR have given the Central government a two-day ultimatum. If farmer demands are not met, all private cabs, taxis, autos and trucks will go on an indefinite strike in Delhi-NCR.

17:13 (IST)30 Nov 2020
It has become a fashion that if you see a Muslim in crowd you call it an Islamic protest. If you see a turban, it's Khalistani: Yogendra Yadav

"It has become a fashion that if you see a Muslim in the crowd you call it an Islamic protest. If you see a turban, it's Khalistani. Those who say such things are anti-national. This is a protest by farmers," said Yogendra Yadav during a press conference at Singhu border.

16:57 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Farmers to continue with blockade

While addressing the media on Monday, the farmers' unions said they will continue with the blockade. They haven't put forward any fresh demands. The union asked for the repealing of the three farm bills.

16:52 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Punjab has taken lead but slowly this protest is becoming a national movement: Yogendra Yadav

"32 years after Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikaith brought lakhs of farmers, once again we are witnessing a huge farmer movement. They say that this protest is by middlemen. I ask you to check yourself if they are farmers or middlemen. They say farmers don't know anything. Only Modi and Planning commission knows. The truth is every child in a village also knows what the reality is. They say that it is only by Punjab farmers. Today we have people from MP, Uttarakhand, and many other places. Punjab has taken lead but slowly it is becoming a national movement," said Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav.

16:49 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Every farmer of Haryana is with us: Yogendra Yadav


Addressing the media, Yogendra Yadav on Monday said that he is ashamed of the statements made by Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar. "I am from Haryana but I know every farmer of Haryana is with us."

16:37 (IST)30 Nov 2020
No social distancing at protest, farmer leaders says new laws bigger threat than coronavirus

Amid fears that the 'Delhi Chalo' protests by farmers will lead to coronavirus spreading faster, their leaders said the black laws enacted at the Centre are a bigger threat than the contagion. There had been few signs of social distancing as thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana began their protest last week against the three new agro-marketing laws, setting off on a march to the national capital. On the way, they skirmished with police at barricades and since Friday are massed at Delhi's entry points, many of them sheltering inside tractor-trolleys.

Masks appear to be a rarity and there is little attempt at keeping a distance from each other, safeguards meant to prevent the infection from spreading. But as experts fear that the event could become a coronavirus superspreader, farm leaders say there are more pressing concerns before them.

'The new farm laws brought by the (Narendra) Modi government are a bigger threat than coronavirus as farmers fear they will lose their livelihood with the implementation of these laws,' Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan told PTI over the phone. (PTI)

16:19 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Oppn in Tamil Nadu urges PM Modi to meet protesting farmers, demand repeal of farm laws

Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet the protesting farmers in Delhi and make an unconditional assurance to them on roll back of three farm reform laws and an electricity bill. Leaders of the DMK-led alliance demanded that the Prime Minister 'respect' the democratic struggle of the farmers, negotiate with them and announce repeal of all three agricultural laws as their stir entered the fifth day on Monday.

"More than 500 farmer unions from across India have rallied on behalf of the country's 62 million farmers. We all strongly condemn the dictatorial, hegemonic BJP government for disregarding this massive rally and stipulating that negotiations will only take place only if the farmers go to the Burari ground," the leaders said in a statement. (PTI)

15:32 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Congress launches social media campaign to muster support for agitating farmers

The Congress on Monday launched a social media campaign to muster support for the farmers protesting against the Centre's new farm laws with party leader Rahul Gandhi saying, when farmers raise their voice, it resonates across the country.  "The Modi government has persecuted the farmer - first it brought black laws and then used lathis against them, but it forgot that when the farmer raises his voice, it resonates throughout the country. You also raise your voice against the exploitation of farmers and join the #SpeakUpForFarmers campaign," Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

"The farmer of the country has come to Delhi in the cold, leaving his home and fields, to voice his protest against the black agriculture laws. In this battle of truth and untruth, with whom do you stand - the 'Annadata' (food-giving) farmer or the PM's capitalist friends," Gandhi said in another tweet.

The former Congress chief said wherever these farmers are protesting, the people and Congress workers should stand in their support and provide them food. "The question is why is the farmer out on the roads, travelling thousands of kilometers and is stalling traffic. PM Modi says the three farm laws are in favour of the farmer, but if these laws are in the farmer's favour, why is he not happy and why is he protesting," asked the Congress leader.

15:15 (IST)30 Nov 2020
Protests continue at Singhu Border amidst heavy police deployment

Farmers at the Delhi border, in Singhu, on Saturday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday appealed to the farmers to shift to the Burari ground in the national capital to stage their protests and said the Centre is ready to hold discussions with them as soon as they move to the designated place.

Shah's offer came after the JJP, which is BJP's key ally in Haryana, urged the Centre to hold talks immediately instead of waiting till December 3. “...the talks should be held today itself by calling all the farmer organisations and their doubts should be cleared. And all the problems of the farmers should be resolved,” said Digvijay Chautala, younger brother of Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala.

Security remains heightened at the Delhi-Haryana border at Tikri as farmers, who are opposing the three central farm laws, stayed put at the Delhi border points for the third consecutive day today. Thousands of farmers were allowed to enter the national capital on Friday evening after clashes with the police, who used tear gas, water cannons and lathis to block their march from Haryana.

Angry at the obstacles placed in the way of farmers marching to Delhi, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a grouping of 500 farm unions, shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday urging him to provide them safe passage to Ram Leela Ground in Delhi. Meanwhile, Navdeep Singh (26), who had grabbed headlines for climbing atop water cannon to turn it off during farmers stir in Ambala district on November 25, has been booked for attempt to murder. The police have accused them of attempting to run over policemen with a speeding tractor-trolley by breaking the police barricading.

Why are Punjab's farmers marching to Delhi despite state passing own farm Bills?

The three Bills passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha underscore that agriculture, agricultural markets, and land is the primary legislative domain of the state. Seeking to address one of the main grievances of the protesting farmers, the Bills, among other things, make minimum support price (MSP) a legal provision.

Farmers say they are happy with the state passing the three Bills, but point out that the proposed state legislations are at best a symbolic political statement against the Centre's farm laws and may remain entangled in legal complications. The Bills can become law only if they get Presidential assent, which they say, is highly unlikely.

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“We are protesting because the central laws have legal value. The state's Bills do not have the same legal validity. We will not sit till the time the anti-farmer laws are not revoked or a Bill related to MSP is not passed by the Centre. Agriculture is a state subject and Centre could not create confusion by passing laws on subjects in state list,” says Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bharti Kisan Union (Dakuanda). He says that now the fight is not only for the farmers of Punjab but for the farmers of the entire country and that is why we are protesting “despite state passing its own Bills”.

Also Read:

Delhi: After facing police heat, farmers dig in for cold night

Editorial | Talk to the farmer

Opinion | Winds from Punjab

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