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Farmers’ Protest HIGHLIGHTS: Transporters threaten to halt operations in North India from Dec 8

The farmers' agitation against the three central farm laws entered the seventh day today. The leaders of protesting farmers have demanded a special session of Parliament to repeal the new farm laws.

By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, Gurgaon, New Delhi | Updated: December 3, 2020 7:54:44 am
Protester dies at Tikri, heart attack suspectedFarmers gathered at New Delhi's Singhu border. (Express file photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Coming forward in support of agitating farmers, transporters’ apex body AIMTC on Wednesday threatened to halt operations in northern India from December 8 if the government fails to address concerns of the farming community. The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) is the apex body of transporters, representing about 95 lakh truckers and other entities.

The farmers’ agitation against the three central farm laws entered the seventh day today.  The leaders of protesting farmers have demanded a special session of Parliament to repeal the new farm laws and threatened to block other roads of the national capital if their demands are not met. “If govt does not fulfil our demands, we will have to take more steps,” said farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni while addressing a press conference in Delhi.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today claimed that the BJP-ruled Centre was angry with him for not permitting stadiums to be used as temporary jails for farmers protesting against the farm laws. In a press briefing, Kejriwal also hit out at Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh saying that he was speaking “BJP’s language” by accusing him of “passing” three farm laws in Delhi. Last week, the AAP government had denied permission to the Delhi Police to convert the city’s stadiums into temporary jails.

“The Punjab CM accused me of passing the three black laws. How can he do such lowly politics at such a crucial time,” Kejriwal said. “Amarinder Singh had several chances to stop farm bills but did not do so,” he added.

A second round of talks between the Centre and the representatives of protesting farmers is expected tomorrow.

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Read highlights on Farmers' protest

20:21 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Transporters threaten to halt operations in North India from Dec 8 in support of agitating farmers

Coming forward in support of agitating farmers, transporters' apex body AIMTC on Wednesday threatened to halt operations in northern India from December 8 if the government fails to address concerns of the farming community. The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) is the apex body of transporters, representing about 95 lakh truckers and other entities. "AIMTC has already extended its support to the farmer agitation from day one. We have decided on stopping our operations strategically starting from North India and if the government does not address the issue of the farmers then we may decide to go for shutting down of transport operations nationwide in their support," AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal said. Atwal said the road transport fraternity of the country has extended its full support to farmers who are 'ann daata' (food providers). (PTI)

19:57 (IST)02 Dec 2020
AAP's women wing forms human chain in Delhi in solidarity with farmers protesting agri laws

Hundreds of members of the AAP's women's wing and party volunteers on Wednesday formed a human chain at the ITO intersection here in solidarity with farmers camping at the national capital's borders to protest the Centre's three agriculture reform laws. The demonstration was led by the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) women's wing president Nirmala Kumari. (PTI)

19:51 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Braving cold, farmers protesting at Delhi's Singhu border say prepared for long haul

Away from the comfort of their homes and undeterred by the winter chill, farmers camping at Delhi's Singhu border against the Centre's agriculture reform laws say they are prepared for a long haul and will not leave until their demands are met. 

19:16 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Cong workers try to march to Haryana CM's home, face water cannons

Police used water cannons Wednesday as Punjab Youth Congress workers jumped barricades trying to march to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's home here, protesting over the new farm laws.

Punjab Youth Congress president Barinder Dhillon and several others were taken into custody by the Chandigarh Police. The activists wanted to 'gherao' Khattar's home to protest against the use of water cannons and teargas against Punjab farmers last week, when the Haryana Police had tried to stop them from entering the state to continue their 'Delhi Chalo' march.
"We came here to wake up the Khattar government," Dhillon told reporters. "We will continue to fight till the farmers get justice," he said, appealing to all sections of society to support the agitation.

18:40 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Let's see to what extent issues can be resolved: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar ahead of tomorrow's meet

Ahead of the second round of talks between the Centre and the representatives of protesting farmers tomorrow, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held deliberations with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal here on Wednesday on ways to dispel concerns over the new farm laws.

"Let's see to what extent issues can be resolved," Tomar said.  

17:34 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Centre should call special session of Parliament to repeal new farm laws: Farmer leader Darshan Pal

Farmer leader Darshan Pal on Wednesday said that the farmers will continue their agitation till the three farm laws are repealed. He said Centre should call special session of Parliament to repeal new farm laws.

Another farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said that they will have to take more steps if the government does not fulfil their demands. "Will block other roads of Delhi if govt does not withdraw new three farm laws, say leaders of protesting farmers at press conference," he added. 

16:34 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Kejriwal hits out at Punjab CM, says Capt Amarinder Singh didn't stop new agriculture laws

A day after Punjab CM Amarinder Singh hit out at AAP saying they had exhibited “shocking double standards on the farmers’ protest”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused him of doing 'low-lever politics.'"Punjab CM has made allegations against me that I've passed the black laws in Delhi. How can he do such low-level politics in this fragile situation? It's not up to State govt to implement it. Had it been so why would farmers of country hold talks with Centre," he said.

"The reason behind Captain sahab's allegation is that we did not allow the nine stadiums in Delhi to be converted into jails. Centre had plans to put the farmers in these stadiums. They're upset with me as I didn't give permission for making them jails," he added.

Kejriwal also said that Singh had several chances to stop farm bills but did not do so.

16:17 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Farmers' income has halved while that of govt's friends has risen: Rahul takes dig at Centre

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the Centre over its claim of doubling farmers' income and alleged that their income has in fact "halved" under the "suit-boot" government, while that of its crony friends has grown four times. He also demanded that the government abolishes the three "black" farm laws which are against farmers and farm labourers and asked it not to befool them with rhetoric. No immediate response was available from the government. Gandhi's remarks come at a time when farmers from Punjab and Haryana are protesting at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders of the national capital against the Centre's new agriculture reform laws.

14:38 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Legal notice sent to Kangana Ranaut over fake tweet on Shaheen Bagh 'dadi'

An advocate in Punjab's Zirakpur area has sent a legal notice to actor Kangana Ranaut, demanding an apology for a tweet in which she had falsely identified an old woman at a farmers' protest as Shaheen Bagh's 'Bilkis Dadi'. The notice demands the actor to tender an apology within seven days. Ranaut posted the picture of Mohinder Kaur (73), a resident of village Bahadurgarh Jandian of Bathinda, claiming that she was the same "Dadi" who was part of Shaheen Bagh protest and now had joined the farmers’ stir. The tweet alleged that she was available for protests for Rs 100. The actor later deleted her tweet after she was slammed for sharing "fake news".

13:59 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Water cannons used on Punjab Youth Congress workers demanding apology from CM Khattar

Police use water cannon on Punjab Youth Congress workers who have gheraoed Haryana CM ML Khattar's residence, demanding an apology from him for alleged use of force against protesting farmers.

13:56 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Farmers' income has halved while that of govt's friends has risen: Rahul takes dig at Centre

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the Centre over its claim of doubling farmers' income and alleged that their income has in fact "halved" under the 'suit-boot sarkar', while that of its crony friends has grown four times.

"They said farmers income will be doubled. What they did was increase incomes of 'friends' four times and those of farmers will be halved. This suit-boot government is of lies and loot," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. The Congress leader also shared a video of the atrocities and use of force against the protesting farmers with a voice-over of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech saying his government was taking steps to resolve the problems faced by farmers and double their income.

13:44 (IST)02 Dec 2020
73-yr-old protester Kangana Ranaut tweeted about says ‘can go to Delhi even now’

Mohinder Kaur (73), a resident of village Bahadurgarh Jandian of Bathinda, has around 13 acres of land which she once tilled herself after her husband was diagnosed with asthma. Kaur came into limelight after actor Kangana Ranaut recently tweeted her picture claiming that she was the same "Dadi" who was part of Shaheen Bagh protest and now had joined the farmers’ stir. The tweet alleged that she was available for protests for Rs 100.

While the actor deleted the tweet after she was slammed for sharing fake news, Mohinder Kaur said, "I was told some actor wrote about me like this. She never visited my house, never saw what I am doing and she said that ‘I am available at Rs 100’. Bhot buri gal hai...assi ki karne hai 100 rupaye.” Kaur, who has a hunched back, said that farming is very difficult and that’s the reason that she had been going to morchas to support farmers. “I am also a farmer. I have been going to petrol pumps to stage dharnas on a regular basis," she said. Kaur said, "I can go to Delhi even now. I have that enthusiasm .. I am active enough to be part of farmers' agitation."

The 73-year-old farmer, Mohinder Kaur.
13:13 (IST)02 Dec 2020
How the government should deal with protesting farmers

Farmers have been protesting against the recently enacted farm laws by converging on Delhi's highways connected to neighbouring states. The agitation is primarily led by Punjab farmers, although some other groups have also joined. The Indian Express opinion pages carry two pieces where experts write about the ongoing farmer protests.

Bridging the communication gap, according to Ashok Gulati, and winning the farmers’ trust, according to Sukhpal Singh, are the key aspects.

11:51 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Two women from Chandigarh collect medicines, essentials for protesting farmers

Two young women from Chandigarh, Gursahiba Gill and Gurpreet Bhatti, who have been working together on many projects of social consequences, especially for women empowerment, health and hygiene, have come forward to garner the support for the protesting farmers. “We were contacted by Gaurav Deep, Chairperson, Initiative of Change, an organisation based in Ludhiana. He is in touch with the farmers and talked to us about how they need basic medicines, first aid kits and relief material and we decided to use our experience to contribute to the cause,” shares 24-year-old Gill, who has a Master’s in psychology.

Bhatti, 23, who is doing law from PU says the increasing demand for basic medicines for fever, cough, cold, allergy, painkillers, sprains, aches and pains…and also basic necessities like milk powder, cotton, disinfectants have been growing among the protesting farmers.

Gursahiba and Gurpreet 
11:18 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Haryana BJP leaders voice their opinions on farmer protests; ally JJP has a suggestion

From advising farmers not to mistake Delhi for “Lahore or Karachi”, to ridiculing farmers showing black flags to them, several Haryana BJP leaders dismissed the farmers' agitation through controversial statements while defending the three contentious farm laws at different functions on Tuesday. Read more

Meanwhile, JJP chief Ajay Singh Chautala, the father of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, said the Centre should consider inclusion of MSPs in the farm laws. "What is the problem in writing one line?" Ajay Chautala said. Dushyant's younger brother and JJP leader Digvijay said the JJP would decide its "future strategy" depending on talks between farmers and the Centre. Read more

10:48 (IST)02 Dec 2020
NRIs back farmer protests: A ‘Kisan rally’ in Toronto, plans to raise awareness during India-Aus one-day match

The farmers' agitation has got the staunch support of the NRI community. In Toronto, a ‘kisan rally’ was organised in support of farmers where they went from Bramalea GO station to the Consulate General of India, expressing solidarity for Indian farmers. Meetings are being conducted in different parts of Melbourne to extend support to farmers, while a car rally will be organised in Canada's Brampton and Birsbane’s City Hall in Australia on December 5.

On November 28, more than 300 NRIs had gathered in Baba Vidhi Chand Gurdwara Sahib Packanum, Victoria, where they also announced their decision to “boycott” Sunny Deol and his family, as well as Gurdas Mann. Some also stood outside Parliament to ask MPs to raise their voices for farmers.

An elderly farmers shouts slogans as others listen to a speaker as they block a major highway during a protest at the Delhi-Haryana border (AP)
10:22 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Chilla route on Delhi-Noida border shut amid farmers protest

With vehicle movement already blocked at Singhu and Tikri borders, Tuesday afternoon also saw hundreds of farmers gather at the Chilla border between Delhi and Noida, forcing police to stop vehicles from plying there too. “Chilla border that links Delhi to UP through Noida has been closed. Drivers who want to go to Noida can take U-turn from under Ghazipur-Akshardham flyover and also through Sarai Kale Khan,” the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.

Ganesh Saha, DCP Traffic in Noida, said: “Except the border is Chilla, all routes towards Noida, including DND, have normal traffic. We are constantly updating traffic situations through videos and photos as several people have queries. We have also issued a helpline number in case people have questions. We will issue directions in case there is any protest at the borders.” People can contact 9971009001 or visit the official handle of Noida Traffic Police for updates.

09:58 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Wheat sowing over, farmers have free time to continue agitation

Parties in most negotiations tend to start by taking maximalist positions. It isn’t any different in the current standoff between the Centre and farmer unions over the three agricultural reform legislations.

From a bargaining standpoint, the farmers are probably better placed at the current moment. In Punjab and Haryana, not only has harvesting of the kharif paddy been completed, even sowing of wheat for the new rabi season is virtually over. Most farmers have also done their first round of urea application and irrigation, which takes place 2-3 weeks after sowing.

It means they have some free time for agitation, which wasn’t the case till 15-20 days ago. Punjab and Haryana farmers generally plant their wheat before mid-November. This relative leeway in wheat may not be available for sugarcane growers in neighbouring western Uttar Pradesh. Sugar mills have really started crushing operations for the new 2020-21 season only after Diwali. UP farmers are, therefore, busy now in harvesting cane, which is their main cash crop.

This “free time” for now, especially with Punjab and Haryana farmers, is something that the Modi government may not have fully anticipated. The timing of their laying siege to the national capital – well after marketing of paddy and sowing of wheat – and ability to stay put for at least the next few weeks could well work to the protestors’ advantage. Read more

09:12 (IST)02 Dec 2020
'Dili Chalo' protests: Farmers receive support from Australia

Farmers receive support from Australia

08:35 (IST)02 Dec 2020
Farmer unions begin talks with Centre; say no to panel, agree to revert with objections

Moving to resolve the standoff with farmers protesting at the gates of Delhi against newly enacted farm laws, the Centre opened talks Tuesday with farmer representatives who, while not warming up to its suggestion of forming a committee to look into their demands, agreed to continue the dialogue.

Following the meeting that lasted three-and-half hours in Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who led the talks with the farmers, told reporters: “The meeting was good, and we have decided to hold the next round of talks on December 3. We wanted a small group to be constituted, but the farmer leaders wanted the talks to be held with everyone. We do not have a problem with it.”

Tomar, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State (Commerce and Industry) Som Prakash spoke to representatives of 35 farmer unions who have been camping for the last six days at Delhi’s borders.

Farmer leaders with Cabinet ministers at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi Tuesday. (Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

An empty tent on Burari ground. Farmers have refused to move to the site allocated by govt. Amit Mehra

With the farmers camping on highways outside Delhi refusing to back down or move to the site designated for the protest, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar met Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday morning.

Hours earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that his government had no intention of deceiving the farmers, and that the new farm laws were meant to give them “new options and legal protection”.

The Prime Minister once again accused the Opposition of misleading the farmers.

At Singhu border near Haryana, Monday. Amit Mehra

“I know that decades of falsehood does create apprehensions in the minds of farmers… I want to say this from the bank of Mother Ganga — we are not working with the intention of deceiving. Our intentions are as holy as the water of the Ganga,” Modi said in Varanasi while inaugurating a project to six-lane the 73-km Varanasi-Prayagraj National Highway.

“Earlier, decisions of the government were opposed, now there is a new trend… Rumours have become the basis for opposition. Propaganda is spread that although the decision is right, it can lead to other consequences, about things that haven't happened or will never happen. It’s a game that is deliberately played by those who have fooled the farmers for decades,” Modi said.

He reiterated his commitment to the cause of the farmers, a constituency the BJP has been nurturing, and from whom it has received significant support in recent elections.

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Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at the Singhu border, representatives of farmer unions said they would continue to block Delhi's borders till their demand was met. “We know that November-December is a very important period for farmers. Many of us have left our farms to come here and protest. Our demands remain the same since the first day — the laws must be taken back. This is non-negotiable. This protest is by farmers, and it is above any religion. This is becoming a bigger movement and the government needs to listen," said Shiv Kumar, coordinator, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, who is representing farmers from Madhya Pradesh.

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.

New laws help farmers, say PM, Shah; key Ministers meet on way forward Farmer leaders hold a press conference at Singhu Border on Sunday. (Express Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

READ | Farmers' protest: In Delhi, Congress lends hand; in Punjab, its fingers crossed

Read| Leveraging blockade, ensuring Centre can’t ignore: Why farmers rejected Burari

READ | As numbers swell, committees to manage crowd, stage, funds and food

READ | MLA quits as Haryana body chief, ‘khaps extend support’ to protest

READ | At protest site, farmers want govt to give MSP guarantee ‘in writing’

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