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Farmers’ Protest Highlights: Opposition parties support Bharat Bandh; Farmer leaders say stir has spread across country

Farmers Protest Highlights: NCP chief Sharad Pawar warned the Centre that if the deadlock continues, the agitation will not be limited to Delhi and people from across the country will stand by the protesting farmers.

By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, New Delhi | Updated: December 7, 2020 8:39:49 am
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Farmers’ Protest Today Live Updates: Prominent opposition leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, DMK chief M K Stalin and PAGD chairman Farooq Abdullah issued a joint statement on Sunday supporting the call for Bharat Bandh on December 8 by farmer groups, and pressed the Centre to meet the legitimate demands of the protesters.

The Congress, TRS, DMK and the AAP on Sunday joined other opposition parties in extending support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8 called by farmer unions which have been protesting on Delhi’s borders for 11 days demanding repeal of the Centre’s new agri-marketing laws. The Trinamool Congress, RJD and the Left parties, besides a joint platform of ten central trade unions, had on Saturday backed the countrywide strike. Meanwhile, Actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam stated that it will take part in the ongoing farmers’ protest that entered 11th day on Sunday.

NCP chief and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar warned the Centre that if the deadlock continues, the agitation will not be limited to Delhi and people from across the country will stand by the protesting farmers. The NCP chief is also scheduled to meet President Ram Nath Kovind on December 9 over the ongoing farmers’ protest against agrarian laws, the party said on Sunday.

The talks between the government and the representatives of farmer unions remained inconclusive on Saturday after the latter spurned the agriculture minister’s offer to amend the farm laws and stuck to the maximalist position demanding a repeal of all three ordinances. To resolve the stand-off, an option to convene a special Parliament session is being considered, a senior government source told The Indian Express. “It is not ruled out, but no decision has been taken,” the source said to a question if a special session was being considered. Both the sides have now agreed to meet again on December 9.

Live Blog

Farmers' Protest Today Highlights: Farmers continue to protest; next round of talks with Centre on December 9. Follow latest news and updates below.

01:26 (IST)07 Dec 2020
Some auto, taxi unions in Delhi to join 'Bharat Bandh' on Tuesday

Commuters may face problems as some auto and taxi unions in the city have decided to join 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8 called by farmer unions protesting against the recent farm laws. However, many other unions have decided to continue normal service despite their support to demand raised by the farmers. Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association President Sanjay Samrat said in a statement that several unions, including Delhi State Taxi Cooperative Society, and Kaumi Ekta Welfare Association will join the strike on December 8. Representaives of various bus and taxi associations on Sunday visited the protesters at Singhu border to extend their support to them, Samrat said.

Kamaljeet Gill, president of Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, comprising mainly drivers working with cab aggregators, said it will also join the strike on Tuesday. However, Rajender Soni, general secretary of Delhi Auto Rickshaw Sangh, and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union said that many "important" auto, taxi and last mile vehicle driver unions will not join the strike. PTI

00:02 (IST)07 Dec 2020
Thousands protest in London against India’s farming reforms

Thousands of people protested in central London on Sunday over Indian agricultural reforms that have triggered mass demonstrations in India. A crowd of demonstrators converged on the Indian embassy, located on Aldwych, a major artery in the centre of the British capital, and groups marched around the Trafalgar Square area, Reuters photographer at the scene said. Read more

23:19 (IST)06 Dec 2020
SCBA Prez says farm laws 'unconstitutional', offers free services as lawyer to agitating farmers

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave has termed the Centre's farm laws "unconstitutional and illegal" and offered his services as a lawyer free of cost to the agitating farmers if they wish to challenge them in court.

"The laws are unconstitutional and illegal," Dave told PTI. "It would be advisable in the larger interest of the farmers and the country that either the government issues a notification stopping the implementation of the Act till the talks take place or the Supreme Court takes up the matter and grants the stay. Then we can save the lives of the farmers and the agony that they are going through," the senior lawyer said. PTI

22:56 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Haryana: 2 more JJP MLAs come out in support of farmers

Two more MLAs from the JJP, an alliance partner of the ruling BJP in Haryana, on Sunday came out in support of the farmers seeking the repeal of the Centre's new agri laws. Jannayak Janta Party MLA Ram Kumar Gautam also demanded that a special assembly session be convened to bring a resolution urging the Centre to scrap the three laws. Separately, JJP legislator Amarjeet Dhanda too came out in support of the farmers, saying he backs their agitation. "We hope the government will agree to their demands. I appeal to the Centre that they should listen to what the farmers are demanding and resolve the issue," Dhanda, an MLA from Julana constituency, said. Earlier, two other JJP MLAs -- Jogi Ram Sihag and Ram Karan Kala -- had announced their support to the farmers and participated in an agitation in Haryana, going against their party's stand on the issue. PTI

22:04 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Gujarat: Man booked for FB posts supporting farmers’ agitation

Police booked a man in Anand over his posts on Facebook, in support of the ongoing farmers’ agitation in New Delhi, for allegedly attempting to “disrupt national unity”.  According to police, the accused Shailesh Parmar, a resident of Vadodara, has been booked on Sunday at Khambat city police station for running a Facebook page “Khambat ki Shaan”, with various “incendiary posts”.

“We received an input that Shailesh Parmar has been running an FB page Khambat ki Shaan and had posted certain incendiary posts...,” said a police officer in Anand.

The accused has been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 153B for imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration, 505 1b for intent to cause alarm in public. (With inputs from Express News Service)

21:03 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Our NRI family members backing us, willing to send funds: Protesting farmers

Farmers protesting on both sides of Delhi-Haryana border have asserted that they are self-sufficient in carrying on their agitation against the new farm laws, with some saying their NRI relatives have also extended support to sustain the momentum of the demonstration. Drawn from several parts of Punjab, aggrieved farmers have converged on an unprecedented scale at Delhi's Singhu and Tikri borders, camping on roads and braving the cold at night to press for their demands.

The peasants have come to the protest site stocked up with fruits, vegetables and other household items, and local residents and volunteer groups, besides members of a gurudwara nearby Singhu Border have been offering supplies to replenish the stock.

Many farmers, who have been staying put at the site said their own families and others, who are non-resident Indians, have reached out and showed solidarity with the protesting peasants. "I have a family member living in Canada, and he called me to tell that he is there to support them with funds and other ways, as much as possible. In our village in Tarn Taran, many people have NRI family members, and they too have received support from them,"said Naunihal Singh of Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Punjab. (PTI)

20:35 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Priyanka Chopra comes out in support of protesting farmers

Actress Priyanka Chopra came out in support of protesting farmers. 'Our farmers are India’s Food Soldiers. Their fears need to be allayed. Their hopes need to be met. As a thriving democracy, we must ensure that this crises is resolved sooner than later,' Priyanka wrote on Twitter.

20:10 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Prominent opposition leaders issue joint statement backing farmers' stir and Bharat Bandh

Prominent opposition leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, DMK chief M K Stalin and PAGD chairman Farooq Abdullah issued a joint statement on Sunday supporting the call for Bharat Bandh on December 8 by farmer groups, and pressed the Centre to meet the legitimate demands of the protesters.

The representatives of thousands of agitating farmers, who are sitting on various borders of the national capital since November 26 demanding repeal of the three agri laws, have said that the countrywide strike on Tuesday would be observed with full force. "We the undersigned leaders of political parties extend our solidarity with the ongoing massive struggle by the Indian farmers organised by various kisan organisations from across the country and extend our support to their call for a Bharat Bandh on December 8 demanding the withdrawal of these retrograde Agri-laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill," the statement said.

Among the signatories were RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, CPI general secretary D Raja, general secretary of CPI(ML) Dipankar Bhattacharya, AIFB general secretary Debabrata Biswas and Manoj Bhattacharya, the general secretary of RSP. "These new Agri-Laws passed in the Parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner preventing a structured discussion and voting, threaten India's food security, destroy Indian agriculture and our farmers, lay the basis for the abolishment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and mortgage Indian agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business corporates and domestic corporates," the statement alleged. (PTI)

20:01 (IST)06 Dec 2020
SAD appeals to Punjabis to support Bharat Bandh call on Dec 8

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday appealed to Punjabis to support the 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8 called by farmer unions against the new farm laws. Badal also said his party would work assiduously alongside the peasantry to ensure repeal of the new agri-marketing laws.

Stating that "the fight for justice" had now become a fight of the 'annadaata' (someone who provides food) against the central government, the Shiromani Akali Dal chief said, "I am confident that the mass agitation will force the Centre to 'bow down' before the demands of farmers." In a statement, Badal said it was unfortunate that the central government was "dragging its feet" and "deliberately delaying" in taking a decision on the demands of the farmer organisations.

He said farmers had been protesting against the Centre's three farm laws for the last three months and were now holding a sit-in at the Delhi borders for the past 11 days. (PTI)

19:12 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Bharat Bandh on December 8: All you need to know

A day after protesting farmers at New Delhi's borders called for a nationwide general strike, the demand earned support from various opposition parties, including AAP and Congress.

Delhi's neighbouring state of Haryana, where the farmers' stir has been gathering momentum, has called a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation ahead of the planned Bharat bandh. Farmers, on their part, said it was mutually agreed by the unions that more farmers from different states would be included in the protest.

The farmers said they consider their demands “non-negotiable”, and the next round of talks will be dominated by the agenda of total repeal of the three farm laws through a special session of Parliament.

19:02 (IST)06 Dec 2020
KCR extends support to Bharat Bandh on Dec 8

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has extended support to the 'Bharat Bandh’ called by farmers on December 8. "TRS President and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has extended the TRS’ total support to the Bharat Bandh declared on December 8 by the farmers,’’ a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said.

The CM said that the TRS rank and file would participate actively in the proposed bandh. KCR justified the support by stating that the farmers are legally agitating against the Centre’s Farm Bills. KCR recalled and reminded that since the Farm Bills would harm the interests of the farmers, the TRS opposed them in the Parliament. KCR felt that there is a need to continue the agitation till the Farm Bills are withdrawn. He said that the TRS would work to make the Bharat Bandh successful. He also appealed to people to stand by farmers and make the bandh successful. (With inputs from Sreenivas Janyala)

18:11 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Sharad Pawar to meet President on Dec 9 over farmers' protest

NCP chief Sharad Pawar is scheduled to meet President Ram Nath Kovind on December 9 over the ongoing farmers' protest against agrarian laws, the party said on Sunday. NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said the former Union agriculture minister will apprise Kovind of the situation in the country in the backdrop of the protest. The representatives of thousands of agitating farmers, who are sitting on various borders of the national capital since November 26, have said their call for a 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8 would be observed with full force. (PTI)

18:08 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Need to strengthen this farmers' movement: Farmer leader Baldev Singh

"I appeal to all to participate in 'Bharat Bandh' on 8th December. 250 farmers from Gujarat will be coming to Delhi. There is a need to strengthen this farmers' movement," said farmer leader Baldev Singh at Singhu border.

16:47 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Take farmers' protest seriously, end deadlock: Pawar to Centre

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday asked the Centre to take serious cognisance of the ongoing farmers' protest and said if the deadlock continues, the agitation will not be limited to Delhi and people from across the country will stand by the protesting cultivators.

Talking to reporters, Pawar said when the farmers are protesting on streets, it should be taken seriously. 'But, unfortunately, that is not happening,' the former Union agriculture minister said. 'I hope wisdom dawns on the government and it takes cognisance to resolve the issue. If this stalemate continues, the protest will not be limited to Delhi, but people from nook and corner of the country will stand by the protesting farmers,' he said.

Pawar said farmers from Punjab and Haryana contribute the most to the country's agriculture and food supply. 'Farmers from these states not just fill our stomach but are also major contributors to India's supply of food grains, especially rice and wheat, to more than a dozen countries,' he said. (PTI)

16:25 (IST)06 Dec 2020
DMK-led bloc extends support to Dec 8 Bharat Bandh called for by farmers

The DMK-led opposition bloc in Tamil Nadu on Sunday extended support to the December 8 'Bharat Bandh' called for by farmers agitating against the Centre's farm laws, saying their demand for the repealing of the three legislations was "totally justified." The M K Stalin-led grouping appealed to farmers' unions, traders' bodies, government employees' associations, labour unions and others in the state to extend "grand support" to the bandh and make it a success on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, actor Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) also extended support to the protest by farmers, who have been
agitating for nearly 10 days outside Delhi border against the Centre's contentious laws. (PTI)

15:57 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Karnataka farmers' body to take part in Bharat Bandh on Dec 8

The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha on Sunday announced its support to the farmers' call for Bharat bandh on December 8, protesting the new farm laws brought by the Centre. The outfit president Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said they would support the nationwide strike.

Farmers from the state would lay siege to the Vidhana Soudha here on December 9, when the assembly session would be underway. "We will hold bandh, a non-violent movement across the state in district headquarters, Taluk headquarters and villages," Chandrashekhar told reporters. He further said he would seek public support for the agitation. (PTI)

15:27 (IST)06 Dec 2020
AAP extends support to Bharat Bandh called by farmers' groups

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has extended its support to the Bharat Bandh called by farmers' organisations on December 8 against the new agri laws, Delhi Chief Minister and the party's national convenor, Arvind Kejriwal, said on Sunday. Kejriwal said that all AAP workers across the country will support the nationwide strike and appealed to all citizens to support the farmers.

'The Aam Aadmi Party fully supports the Bharat Bandh call made by farmers on December 8. AAP workers across the country will support it peacefully. There is an appeal to all countrymen that everyone should support the farmers and participate in it,' Kejriwal tweeted.

AAP leader and Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said all volunteers and workers will participate in the strike to support the farmers. 'This is not just the farmers fight but the fight for all countrymen. India is an agricultural country and if farmers are unhappy then the country is affected. I appeal to all to join the protest,' Rai said, in a video message.

14:56 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Members of Bhartiya Kisan Union Lok Shakti march in support of farmers' protest

Members of Bhartiya Kisan Union Lok Shakti began their march Sunday from Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal to Delhi in support of farmers' protest against the Centre's farm laws.

14:08 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Will return Khel Ratna, govt doesn't withdraw black laws: Boxer Vijender Singh

Boxer Vijender Singh visited the farmers' protest site in Delhi on Sunday, and said he would return Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award if the government doesn't withdraw the 'black' farm laws. "If the government doesn't withdraw the black laws, I'll return my Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award - the highest sporting honour of the nation," ANI quoted Vijender Singh as saying.

13:42 (IST)06 Dec 2020
Congress backs farmers' 'Bharat Bandh' call, will hold demonstrations across country on Dec 8

The Congress on Sunday expressed its "whole-hearted" support to the 'Bharat Bandh' called on December 8 by farmer unions against the new agri-marketing laws and announced that it will hold protests that day at all district and state headquarters in solidarity with the demands of the farmers.

The representatives of thousands of agitating farmers, who are sitting on various borders of the national capital since November 26, have said their call for a 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8 would be observed with full force.

Addressing the media at the AICC headquarters here, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "I would also like to announce that the Congress party extends its whole-hearted support to the Bharat Bandh on December 8."

Former party chief Rahul Gandhi, through tractor rallies, signature campaigns and Kisaan rallies, has been raising the party's voice in support of the farmers, he said. Read more

Having announced its intention to address key concerns of farmers such as levelling the playing field between APMC mandis and private markets, registration of traders, and allowing farmers' recourse to civil courts for dispute resolution, the central government Friday internally discussed options on how to incorporate these changes. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar met senior officials in Krishi Bhawan and went through the 10-page note mailed by farmers' unions on Thursday, and the substance of the talks during the seven-hour discussion later that day.

After Thursday's talks, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had hinted that the Modi government could amend three major provisions in the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act.

Meanwhile, farmers at Singhu Border have called for a nationwide protest, and announced a Bharat Bandh on December 8. Addressing a press conference on Friday, union leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said that if the Centre did not accept their demands to repeal the laws during Saturday's talks, they would intensify their agitation and occupy the toll plazas on same day.

The government’s conciliatory stance is also influenced by ground reports about deep resentment among farmers in Punjab. They were told that in spite of the successful procurement of paddy, farmers believed the farm laws spelt an end to the APMC regime. It was also pointed out that had the party's former ally Akali Dal not channelled that anger, hardline forces may have hijacked the protests. The top leaders were told the resentment was more pronounced in the Malwa region of Punjab that borders both Haryana and Rajasthan.

Earlier on Friday, a petition seeking immediate removal of the protesting of farmers from Delhi borders was submitted to the Supreme Court. The plea has sought the apex court's directions to the authorities to open the roads at Delhi borders, shift these protesters to allotted place and provide guidelines on social distancing and use of mask at the protest place to contain spread of COVID-19 cases.

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