Amid the deadlock between farmers and the Centre, farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni Sunday announced that the heads of all farmer unions will observe a one-day hunger strike on Monday. The hunger strike, between 8 am to 5 pm, is part of the farmers’ plan to intensify their agitation from December 14.
Addressing a press conference at Singhu border, where the farmers have been camping for the past 18 days now, Chaduni said the leaders will observe the hunger strike at their respective places. Farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka told PTI, “Government agencies have been stopping farmers from reaching Delhi, but the protest will continue till their demands are met. Our stand is clear, we want the three farm laws repealed. All farmer unions participating in this movement are together.”
Another farmer leader, Rakesh Tikait, said, “If the government gives another proposal for talks, our committee will decide on it. We appeal to all to maintain peace during the protest.”
Farmers from Rajasthan and Haryana started moving towards Delhi on Sunday morning. The Delhi Police had stepped up vigil on the national capital’s border as farmers had planned to block the Jaipur National Highway-8, which passes through Gurgaon. Farmer leaders on Saturday had said that farmers will start the ”Delhi Chalo” march on their tractors from Rajasthan’s Shahjahanpur through the Jaipur highway at 11 am on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Som Parkash met Home Minister Amit Shah, news agency PTI reported. The ministers were accompanied by BJP leaders from Punjab. Tomar and Parkash, along with their ministerial colleague Piyush Goyal, had led the government’s negotiations with the protesting farmers.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said he will hold a one-day fast Monday in support of the protesting farmers. He also urged all Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers and supporters to observe the one-day fast in solidarity with the farmers. Addressing a virtual press briefing, the chief minister said the Centre should immediately accept all demands of the farmers. He also asked the BJP-ruled Centre to shun “arrogance”, and scrap the three farm laws and bring in a Bill to guarantee minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural produce.
Farmers sit in protest on a side of Delhi-Jaipur nation highway as Haryana cops put up barricades
Farmers from Rajasthan and some other places gathered in large numbers on the Haryana-Rajasthan border near Rewari for their march towards Delhi and sat in protest on side of the Delhi-Jaipur national highway as the Haryana police put up barricades to stop their onward march.
Rewari’s Superintendent of Police Abhishek Jorwal told reporters at the site that district authorities had imposed Section 144 of the CrPC banning assembly of five or more people. “We have set up barricades and we will try to stop them here,” he said, adding, besides adequate force of the Haryana police, three companies of paramilitary personnel have been deployed to ensure law and order.
The farmers were sitting in protest at Jaisinghpur Kheda area in Rewari along Rajasthan-Haryana border (NH-48). Gurgaon is over 70 km from the site while Delhi is nearly 80 km away. Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, who was at the site, said since the barricades have been put, the farmers had no option but to stage a sit-in.
Tomar targets Opposition parties over farmers’ stir, says it has become their nature to oppose
As farmers’ protest entered the third week, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday accused Opposition parties of running a propaganda against the new farm laws and asserted that these legislations “may cause difficulty for some in the short term” but will be beneficial to farmers in the long run. Tomar, who is leading negotiations with the 40 protesting farmer unions to break the deadlock, was addressing a delegation of over 100 farmers from Uttarakhand who came to extend their support to the laws.
Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary and Uttarakhand Education Minister Arvind Pandey were present in the meeting. Addressing the delegation, Tomar said the government faced opposition when it revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. It also faced opposition when it brought the amended citizenship law as well as over the Ram temple issue.
“When the agricultural reforms were brought, there was opposition to this too…. There are some people who just oppose and weaken the country. This has become their nature,” the agriculture minister said.
On agricultural sector reforms, the discussion has been going on for last many years, Tomar said. “Unfortunately the previous governments who wanted to reform were not able to it. Since they could not try, they did get the credit,” he added.
Tomar stressed that for a new India, reforms are necessary.
Expressing solidarity with protesting farmers, a serving officer of the Punjab police resigned from his post on Saturday. Lakhminder Singh Jakhar, who was posted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Prisons, in Chandigarh, said he resigned on Saturday. “I have completed all the formalities and hence, I don’t think that there will be any hassle in accepting my resignation,” he said.
Jakhar was suspended in May over graft charges. The 56-year-old officer was, however, reinstated two months ago.
In his resignation letter, Jakhar offered ‘to deposit three months’ salary of notice period and other arrears as well, so that he can be relieved at the earliest.’
Probe if unrelated people part of farmers’ protest: Ramdas Athawale
A day after Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the farmers’ agitation has been “infiltrated by Leftist and Maoist elements”, Union minister Ramdas Athawale said it is important to inquire if people who have no relation with the farmers’ protest are involved in it. Addressing a press conference in Maharashtra’s Nagpur city on Sunday, Athawale, head of the Republican Party of India (A), a BJP ally, also said Union minister Raosaheb Danve’s claim of China and Pakistan being behind the farmers’ protest is “not the government’s stand”.
“Besides, Pakistan and China’s hands cannot reach till here,” he said when asked about Danve’s claim. To a query on Goyal’s remark, Athawale said, “It is important to initiate an inquiry into the remarks made by Piyush Goyal, if such people have entered who have no relation with the farmers’ protest.”
Chidambaram slams Centre over farmers’ protest
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday slammed the Central government for some of its ministers “alluding to the presence of separatist elements” in the ongoing farmers’ protest.
Ministers have described the protesters against the Farm Laws as Khalistanis; agents of Pakistan and China; Maoists; and, the latest, tukde tukde gang
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 13, 2020
“Ministers have described the protesters against the Farm Laws as Khalistanis; agents of Pakistan and China; Maoists; and, the latest, tukde tukde gang,” the Congress leader tweeted.
“If you exhaust all these categories, it means there are no farmers among the thousands of protesters. If there are no farmers, why is the government talking to them?” he asked in another tweet.
Modi govt to deal sternly with ‘Tukde Tukde gang’ trying to take advantage of farmers stir: Ravi Shankar Prasad
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday stated that stern action will be taken against the “Tukde Tukde Gang” trying to take advantage of the farmers’ protest.
Prasad, who is Union Minister for Law and Justice, made the assertion while launching Bihar BJP’s state-wide “Kisan Chaupal Sammelan” (farmers conference) in support of the three agricultural Acts at Tekbigha village in Bakhtiarpur assembly constituency of Patna district.
“They (those protesting farm laws) are saying that they will not withdraw their movement unless and until these laws are withdrawn. We would like to say that the Narendra Modi government respects farmers but would like to make it clear that stern action will be taken against ‘tukde tukde gang’ taking advantage of farmers movement,” Prasad said.
Clarify remarks of Goyal, Danve on farmers’ stir: NCP to PM Modi
The NCP on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should clarify on the claims of some Union ministers that the ongoing farmers’ protest had the backing of Pakistan, China and Maoists. NCP spokesman Mahesh Tapase said instead of sympathetically considering the demands of the protesting farmers, Union ministers Raosaheb Danve and Piyush Goyal have made “controversial remarks to discredit the agitation”.
(With inputs from PTI)
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