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Farmers’ Protest Live Updates: Farmers threaten to block railway tracks; ready for further talks, says Tomar

Farmers Protest in Delhi Live News Updates: Farmers have been camping in the bitter cold at Delhi's borders for 15 days now. At least seven farmers have died, four in accidents and three of natural causes.

By: Express Web Desk
Chandigarh, New Delhi | Updated: December 10, 2020 9:02:31 pm
Support grows, farmers stage protest across HaryanaHaryana BKU President Gurnam Singh Chaduni at Singhu border. (Photo source: BKU)

Farmers’ Protest Live Updates:  As the ongoing farmers’ protest entered day 15, agitating farmers on Thursday threatened to intensify protest by blocking railway tracks. Addressing a press conference farmer leader Boota Singh at Singhu border said, “we will block railway tracks if our demands are not met. We will decide on the date and announce it soon.”

Earlier today, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar urged union leaders to consider the proposals and said he is ready for further discussions with them. “The government is ready to consider with an open mind any provision in the new laws where farmers have any issues and we want to clarify all their apprehensions,” Tomar said at a press conference.

A 20-page proposal offered by the Centre was rejected by farmer unions on Wednesday for being “vague”. Farmers, who are steadfast in their demand that the three farm laws be repealed, said any further talks with the government would be based on the proposals they receive.

On December 14, farmers said the residences of BJP leaders, ministers and offices would be gheraoed, and dharnas would take place at district headquarters across the country. In the southern states, the protests would continue indefinitely.

In its proposal, the Centre had offered significant concessions including a written assurance on continuation of minimum support price (MSP)-based procurement and ensuring parity in transactions inside and outside existing Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis. The proposal had been sent a day after 13 farmer leaders met Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Live Blog

Farmers' protest, 'Delhi Chalo' march live updates: Centre's proposal rejected by farmer unions; farmers from Punjab and Haryana threated to intensify stir; Opposition leaders meet President Ram Nath Kovind; Home Minister Amit Shah holds talks with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Follow latest news and updates below

21:02 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Accept farmers' demands with immediate effect: Sachin Pilot to Centre

Congress leader and former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Thursday asked the Centre to accept the demands of the agitating farmers with immediate effect. "The farmers are fully alert and capable to protect their future, right and lands and the central government cannot confuse them with any vicious and undemocratic efforts," he tweeted. He said the central government should immediately accept all the demands of the farmers. Thousands of farmers are currently staying put at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

21:01 (IST)10 Dec 2020
A look into protest site at Singhu Border

The farmers who have been agitating for the past two weeks against the new agri laws on Thursday announced that they will block railway tracks if their demands are not met by the government.  A look into protest site at Singhu Border. Express Photo by Amit Mehra 

19:47 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Farmers' stir: Key road connecting Noida-Delhi partially open

A key road connecting Noida and Delhi remained partially opened on Thursday even as farmers' protest against the new agriculture laws continued here for the 10th day. Scores of protestors belonging to Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) stayed put at the Chilla border, while those of BKU (Lok Shakti) continued to camp at the Dalit Prerna Sthal. The protesting farmers belonging to various districts of western Uttar Pradesh had blocked the Noida-Delhi Link Road that passes through the Chilla border but opened one carriageway on Wednesday evening after talks with the local police. "One carriageway of the Noida-Delhi Link Road is open while the other is closed. People can come from Delhi to Noida using that route but not otherwise," a Noida Traffic Police official said.

19:46 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Following India protests closely, says UK after Boris Johnson gaffe

The UK Foreign Office is closely following the protests by farmers in India, a government spokesperson said on Thursday as it clarified that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had "clearly misheard" a question in Parliament when he responded with Britain's stance on the India-Pakistan dispute instead. The gaffe occurred during the weekly Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons on Wednesday, when Johnson reiterated that any dispute between India and Pakistan was for the two countries to settle bilaterally in response to a question by Opposition Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi about conveying British Sikh "anxieties" over the ongoing protests against agricultural reforms in India. A UK government spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister clearly misheard the question in Parliament. The Foreign Office are following the issue of protests in India closely".

18:38 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Farm bills are in larger interest of farmers: Manipur CM Biren

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh Thursday said that the three Farm Bills namely the Farmer’s Produced Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), Bill 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 are in larger interest of the farmers of our country and the Manipur Government strongly support the bills. According to Singh, any role back in reforms and development taken up by the Government would mean to support vested interest which, in future, would hinder other reforms too.

Singh further observed that fear of commission agents to lose their commission, rich farmers taking the opportunity to get a legal guarantee of lucrative Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce and the farmers’ misconception that the Government would scrap the MSP could be the reason for protest against the bills in some parts of the Country.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had repeatedly given assurance to the farmers that the Government had no plans to end the Government procurement system or the MSP policy. Fortunately, farmers of Manipur are in support of the three Farm Bills which were passed by the Parliament in September this year, he asserted.

The Chief Minister also stated the Government brought up the bills to benefit the farmers as they could directly take orders and make purchases with no commission agents and middle men. He also appealed to the farmer of the Country not to support the current agitation against the three bills. (Report by Jimmy Levion) 


18:01 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Will block railway tracks soon: Farmer unions

Farmer leaders at Singh Border said they will block railway tracks if their demands are not met.

"We'd given an ultimatum till Dec 10 that if PM doesn't listen to us & doesn't repeal laws, we'll block railway tracks. It was decided in today's meeting that all the people of India will take to the tracks," said Sanyukt Kisan Manch will fix a date & announce. (ANI)

16:47 (IST)10 Dec 2020
MSP at 1.5 times cost of production remained pending till Modi govt implemented it: Tomar

"The entire country has witnessed that Swaminathan Commission report came in 2006, the recommendation about MSP at 1.5 times cost of production remained pending till Modi government implemented it," said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. 

16:38 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Centre has the right to make laws on trade: Narendra Tomar clarifies

Tomar also clarified that the Centre has the right to make laws on trade. " During the talks, many said that farm laws are invalid as agriculture is State subject and Centre can't frame these laws. We clarified, we have the right to make laws on trade and explained it to them. APMC & MSP are not affected by it."

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16:31 (IST)10 Dec 2020
New farm laws don't affect APMCs or MSP: Tomar

As the ongoing farmers's protest entered day 15, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, "We sent a proposal to farmers. Thet wanted that laws be repealed. We are of the stand that govt is ready for open-minded discussions on provisions they have an objection against. Laws don't affect APMCs or MSP. We tried to explain this to farmers."

16:29 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Govt intend to liberate farmers through the new farm laws: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar

Govt intend to liberate farmers through the new farm laws so that they could sell their produce anywhere, to anyone, at his own price, outside the purview of mandi, said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar while addressing a presser

16:17 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Haryana BKU President Gurnam Singh Chaduni at Singhu border

Haryana BKU President Gurnam Singh Chaduni at Singhu border. 

16:12 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar addresses press conference

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar addresses press conference.

15:24 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Dushyant Chautala breaks silence on farmers protest

Haryana's Deputy Chief minister Dushyant Chautala on Thursday broke his silence on the ongoing farmers agitation. After hosting a lunch for the chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his cabinet colleagues at his residence in Chandigarh, Dushyant briefly spoke with the media persons and said that the union government has accepted farmers' demand of assuring MSP in writing. Talking about the farmers rejecting union government's proposal, Dushyant said, “That pertains to their [farmer unions] movement. Responding to media's queries on various JJP leaders talking in favour of farmers, Dushyant said, “I am also saying that I am a farmer first. When did I ever deny that? But, it is our responsibility for getting the farmer adequate price for his crop. Our government, even in the last procurement and this procurement, has ensured that each and every penny of farmer's produce goes into his bank account. Even Punjab has not been able to do so, till date. Rajasthan could not even begin the process. We are assuring that we shall procure the crop in future and also put entire money for it in the farmer's bank account. We hope that when MSP comes in writing, demands that are being raised by the farmers of other States shall also get fulfilled”.

13:10 (IST)10 Dec 2020
BKU (Ugrahan) to seek release of ‘rights activists’, Delhi riots accused

Despite the farmer unions’ decision to keep their ongoing protest in Delhi against the farm laws “apolitical”, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) plans to use this platform to demand the release of several accused booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for allegedly having links with Naxals, on Human Rights Day, to be observed Thursday.

Pictures of more than 20 accused, including Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, booked under the stringent UAPA, will be installed on a stage near the Tikri border. Many human rights groups are also expected to participate. Read Kamaldeep Singh Brar's report

12:42 (IST)10 Dec 2020
The farmers' protest in pictures

The farmers' protest entered the 15th day today. Here are some pictures taken by Express photojournalists to show how the stir is playing out.


11:34 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Highway langars ensure no farmer on way to Delhi goes hungry
A tractor from Hoshairpur is on its way to Delhi. (Express photo by Raakhi Jagga)

The call for ‘Delhi Chalo’ may have been given by farmer unions for November 26-27, the movement alive and kicking even now. On Wednesday, the NH-1 from Ludhiana till the Shambhu border was lined with tractor-trolleys, cars, mini tempos and even trucks. Banners with slogans like ‘Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Zindabaad’, ‘No Farmer No Food’, and flags of various farmer unions fluttered all the way till the Delhi border.

From bread pakora and tea to basic medicines, stalls line the highway. “Langars continue 24×7 as trolleys keep on passing. A number of people are coming back and others are replacing them,” said Avtar Singh, a resident of Jatana village of Doraha. Read Raakhi Jagga's report

10:47 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Haryana CM calls meeting of state’s entire top brass on December 17

Amid the deadlock between farmer unions and the central government, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has called an unprecedented meeting of the state’s entire top brass, including Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Inspectors General of Police and Superintendents of Police, on December 17. All the officers have been instructed to be “physically present” in Chandigarh on that day.

The orders issued, Wednesday, has raised many eyebrows since these were issued a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah held talks with the farmer unions Tuesday.

A senior Haryana government officer told The Indian Express that “amid the ongoing tense atmosphere on Delhi’s borders and hardened stance adopted by the farmer unions, it is very tough for all the officers to leave their respective stations and be here in Chandigarh. But, an order is an order”. Read Varinder Bhatia's report

10:29 (IST)10 Dec 2020
As their numbers swell, Haryana farmers say they will surpass Punjab count

The ongoing farmers’ protest at Delhi borders has seen a swift rise in participation from Haryana with those not backing the protest being dubbed as "traitors" in the state’s villages. The "traitor" taunts are one among the many reasons that more from Haryana has come out in to back the stir. A farmer leader from Hisar, Suresh Koth, who is camping at Singhu border, said, "Almost 40 per cent of the total farmers at Singhu border are now from Haryana while the rest are from Punjab."

A farmer leader from Fatehabad, Mandeep Nathwan, who is camping at Tikri border since November 26, added, "At Tikri border, the number of farmers from Haryana and Punjab is almost equal but Haryana participation is likely to surpass Punjab numbers within a week." Read Sukhbir Siwach's report

10:15 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Opinion: Roll back law, not reform

Bharat Ramaswami, professor of economics at Ashoka University, writes: The uncomfortable truth is that while the new laws are not perfect, they represent a necessary direction for agricultural policy. Without developing new markets for the more dynamic lines of activity, agriculture, farmers and the economy will be stuck with a slow-moving cereal economy. This requires enabling policies and investments.

The BJP governs many states where it can demonstrate the power of liberating markets and literally allow a thousand flowers to bloom. That gives it the chance to disprove the narrative that these reforms are a corporate plot and provide concrete proof of the gains. Without doubt, economic success will melt opposition in Punjab as well. Read his opinion column here

09:25 (IST)10 Dec 2020
Farmers’ protest: Some fall ill, families arrive to help
Fumigation in progress at the protest site at Singhu border, Wednesday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Amid the harsh winter and the spike in complaints of fever and cold, families of several protesting farmers have joined them at Tikri border. Till date at least seven people taking part in the farmers’ protest have died — four of them in an accident and the others of natural causes such as cardiac arrest. Families of elderly farmers are now joining them from Punjab and Haryana, and some have set up camps to help protesters with food and beds. Read Jignasa Sinha's report

farmer protests, farmer govt talks, amit shah, farmer protests delhi, farm laws, Bharat bandh, Amit Shah farmers talk, Punjab, Haryana, India news, indian express news Protest by various organisations in Chandigarh during the Bharat bandh on Tuesday. (Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

The Bharat bandh called by protesting farmer groups saw maximum response in Punjab and Haryana, where roads were blocked and markets remained closed on Tuesday. The shutdown, backed by most Opposition parties and trade unions, also had some impact in states like Odisha, Maharashtra and Bihar. Farmer unions had threatened to block national highways and occupy toll plazas across the country during a “chakka jam” protest from 11 am to 3 pm. Security was stepped up as protests were held in some places. Protesters also blocked railway tracks at several places in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.

In Delhi, apart from Azadpur Mandi, most markets remained open There were reports of clashes between Congress and BJP workers in Jaipur, where mandis were closed but shops remained open In Maharashtra, wholesale markets in major cities like Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad were shut. Retail shops and Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) were closed in many parts of the state.

farmer protests, farmer govt talks, amit shah, farmer protests delhi, farm laws, Bharat bandh, Amit Shah farmers talk, Punjab, Haryana, India news, indian express news Farmers had called Bharat Bandh against the three central farm laws (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

In West Bengal, where the ruling Trinamool Congress joined the Congress and the Left in supporting the shutdown but stayed away from enforcing it, the response was mixed. Railway tracks were blocked in several places and there were sit-ins on major roads.

Life was hit in Bihar too with train tracks, highways and inner roads teeming with protesters as Opposition parties extended their support. In Jehanabad, the movement of Patna-Palamu Express was obstructed for a few minutes until the bandh supporters, squatting on the tracks, were chased away by the police.

Train services were also affected in Odisha as activists of farmers' organisations, trade unions and political parties held sit-ins on tracks in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Bhadrak and Balasore. Elsewhere in the state, normal life was hit with markets and offices shut and Congress and Left supporters blocking major roads.

Also Read | BJP supporters among 20 ‘farmers’ who backed new laws in meet with Narendra Singh Tomar

Also Read | Income and insecurity: Why farmers across economic spectrum are at border protests

Also Read | Bharat bandh has mixed response, most impact in Punjab, Haryana

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First published on: 09-12-2020 at 08:53:43 am
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