Intensifying their protest against the Centre’s contentious agricultural reform laws, the farmers on Sunday said they would observe a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all protest sites and halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27. The farmers, who have been protesting now for 25 days near the borders of the national capital, have repeatedly said their demand for repeal of the farm laws was “non negotiable”.
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, addressing a press conference, said that farmers would celebrate Kisan Diwas on December 23 and “we request people to not cook lunch for a day”.
Meanwhile, addressing a gathering in poll-bound West Bengal, Home Minister Amit Shah told reporters that Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar would meet the protesting farmers in a “day or two” in yet another attempt to end the deadlock.
Here are the highlights of the farmers’ stir on Day 25 of the protests:
Farmers to observe hunger strike tomorrow
Addressing a press conference, Swaraj India Chief Yogendra Yadav said farmers would observe a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday. “Farmers will begin a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all sites of protest against the new agri laws. It will be started by a team of 11 members at protests sites here, including the Singhu border,” he said.
“Protesters are being threatened by the Haryana government. This is against the direction of the Supreme Court. I urge them to stop harassing farmers from tomorrow,” he said.
On the other hand, farmer leader Jagjeet Singh Dalewala said they would halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27. “From December 25 to 27 all toll booths in Haryana will not be allowed by us to collect toll, we will halt them from doing so. On December 27, our prime minister will say his ‘Mann ki baat‘ and we want to appeal to people to beat ‘thalis’ during his address,” the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader said.
Samajwadi Party to campaign against ‘anti-farmer policies’ on Dec 25
The Samajwadi Party will carry out an awareness drive on December 25 in which party leaders will go to villages in Uttar Pradesh and inform people about the ‘anti-farmer policies’ of the central government. In a press statement issued in Lucknow Sunday, party’s spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said leaders would go to villages and hold ‘chaupal‘ (meeting) with farmers.
The party’s MPs and MLAs will lead the ‘Samajwadi Kisan Ghera’ campaign, he said. The leaders will also apprise the farmers about the “achievements” of the erstwhile Samajwadi Party government in the state.
Traffic movement on Jaipur-Delhi highway partially affected for 8th day
Traffic movement on the Jaipur-Delhi highway remained partially affected for the eighth consecutive day on Sunday due to an agitation by farmers against the Centre’s three farm laws. Braving intense cold, the farmers have been sitting on a carriageway of the highway in Shahjahanpur near the Rajasthan-Haryana border.
The carriageway has been blocked for traffic and Delhi-bound vehicles are being diverted through other routes, a police officer said. The carriageway for Jaipur-bound traffic is open, the police officer added. The protest is being led by Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, former CPI(M) MLA Amra Ram and other farmer leaders. At the protest site, the farmers observed ‘Shradhanjali Diwas’ on Sunday to pay homage to their brethren who died during the ongoing agitation.
Explained Ideas | What are the origins of the farmers’ unrest?
Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of Punjab’s largest farmer organisations protesting against the recent farm laws, said it has been asked by a central agency to submit its registration details that allow it to receive foreign funds. The “Centre is using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the ongoing agitation”, BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) president Joginder Ugrahan and its general secretary Sukhdev Singh said.
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) stipulates mandatory registration of any outfit receiving foreign fund. “A department under the Centre has sent an email which we received through our bank’s branch in Punjab. In the e-mail, it was stated that we should give registration details in respect of these donations from abroad otherwise they will be sent back,” Sukhdev Singh was quoted as saying.
“The bank manager showed me the email which has been sent by the Forex Department,” he said. Questioning the timing of the Centre’s demand, Singh said, “It is quite clear that the agitation against the farm laws is against the Centre and they will try to create all hurdles they can in that.”
Back from protests, 22-year-old Punjab farmer commits suicide
A 22-year-old Punjab farmer, who returned from a protest site near Delhi border, allegedly committed suicide after consuming some poisonous substance, the police said on Sunday. Gurlabh Singh, a resident of Dayalpura Mirza village of Bathinda district, had been part of the protest near the Delhi border. He had returned to his village on Friday, they said. The police said he consumed some poisonous substance on Saturday at his home. He was taken to the nearest hospital where he was declared brought dead. The reason behind the suicide was yet to be ascertained, the police added.
In an unscheduled visit today morning, PM Narendra Modi visited Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi and paid tributes to Guru Teg Bahadur for his supreme sacrifice, ANI reported. Modi offered prayers during his visit to the gurudwara for which no police bandobast or traffic barriers were put in place, PTI reported.
“This morning, I prayed at the historic Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, where the pious body of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji was cremated. I felt extremely blessed. I, like millions around the world, am deeply inspired by the kindnesses of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji,” PM Modi tweeted after the visit.