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Farmers’ protest Highlights: Centre invites unions for talks again, asks them to fix date according to their convenience

Farmers Protest Highlights: Farmers at Ghazipur (Delhi-UP border) will observe 'Shahidi Diwas' today.

By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, Gurgaon, New Delhi | Updated: December 21, 2020 9:44:05 am
farmers protests, farm laws 2020, Punjab farmers protest, farmers unions, tikri border, singhu border, support farmers protests, farmers protest funding, indian expressArhtiyas in Punjab began their four-day strike against income tax raids, which they allege were conducted to intimidate them for supporting the farmers' stir against the Centre's agriculture laws.

Farmers’ Protest Highlights: The Centre on Sunday sent out an invite to the farmers’ unions for join discussion with the government again and asked them to fix the date of the meeting at Vigyan Bhavan according to their convenience. Meanwhile, protesting farmers have announced that they will organise a day-long relay hunger strike Monday and block all toll collection on the national highways in Haryana from December 25-27.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister VK Singh said Sunday that the ongoing protests by farmers against the three Central farm laws was “more political” in nature and underlined the NDA government’s intent to ensure the welfare of the peasants. Speaking to reporters in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur ahead of his interaction with farmers, the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways claimed that “actual farmers are very happy with what has been done in last six months.”

Farmers at Ghazipur (Delhi-UP border) will observe ‘Shahidi Diwas’ today. “We’ll observe Shahidi Divas today and pay tribute to those who lost their lives during this movement,” Mange Ram Tyagi, Chief Secy, Delhi-NCR, Bhartiya Kisan Union, was quoted as saying by ANI.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Saturday said that the government is ready for talks with the farmers if they “come forward without seeking a yes or no response” to their demand, news agency PTI reported. On the other hand, BJP leader and former Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh declared that the farmers’ protest against the new farm laws is now “everybody’s agitation”. He joined a dharna in their support on Friday at Sampla in Jhajjar district of Haryana. The sit-in had been organised by members of the Sir Chhotu Ram Manch — Birender Singh is the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, pre-independent India’s tallest Jat leader and the driving force behind several laws and measures to end exploitation of farmers by moneylenders. Singh’s son Brijendra Singh is the BJP MP from Hisar.

Birender Singh said he was keen to go to the borders of Delhi where the protests have entered the 25th day. “I stand by them. This is everybody’s agitation now. It’s not limited to a section of society. I am already in the field and have made up my mind. If I am not in the frontline, then people will feel that I am just doing politics, nothing else,” he told The Indian Express.

Live Blog

Farmers' Protest Highlights: Stir enters 25th day; Haryana BJP leader joins dharna; Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar hopes to end stalemate in talks by year-end. Follow this blog for the latest news and updates.

00:11 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Suggest date for talks, provide details of 'remaining concerns': Govt to farmers

The government on Sunday wrote to the protesting farmer unions, inviting them for the next round of talks and asking them to choose a convenient date.
In a letter to the union leaders, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said, "I request those previously invited protesting union leaders to provide details of their remaining concerns and doubts and suggest a date as per convenience for next round of talks."
Previous five rounds of formal talks between the government and the farmer unions have failed. The government intends to convene the next meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi for resolving the issue so that the ongoing protests end at the earliest, Aggarwal said.
He said the Centre is making all efforts with an open mind to resolve all the concerns raised by the farmers.

22:38 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Centre invites unions for talks again, asks them to fix date according to their convenience

The Centre on Sunday sent out an invite to the farmers' unions for join discussion with the government again and asked them to fix the date of the meeting at Vigyan Bhavan according to their convenience.

22:17 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti to extend their support to the three farm laws: Members submit letter to Tomar

Delhi: Members of Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti submitted a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, to extend their support to the three farm laws.

20:19 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Centre asking questions over foreign donations: Farmer union

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of Punjab’s largest farmer organisations protesting against the recent farm laws, on Sunday said it has been asked by a central agency to submit its registration details which allow it to receive foreign funds. The BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) president Joginder Ugrahan and its general secretary Sukhdev Singh revealed about the Union government’s demand alleging that the “Centre is using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the ongoing agitation”.

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 said.

“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. They are using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the agitation.”

20:13 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Traffic movement on Jaipur-Delhi highway partially affected for 8th day due to farmers' stir

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.

Amra Ram said hundreds of people, many of them led by Jat Mahasabha president Rajaram Meel, joined the protest in Shahjahanpur and extended their support the movement. He said the movement will continue till the government accepts their demand for repeal of the farm laws.

20:07 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Samajwadi Party to campaign in UP against 'anti-farmer policies' of BJP govts on Dec 25

The Samajwadi Party will conduct a special drive on December 25 when its leaders will go to villages in Uttar Pradesh and aware people about the "anti-farmer policies" of the BJP-led governments. In a press statement issued here on Sunday, the party's chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said SP leaders will 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.

Chaudhary alleged that the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state are hell bent on destroying farmers. "It is an irony that 'annadata' (farmers) are shivering in the cold and want to talk, but the prime minister is doing his 'mann ki baat'," he said, referring to the protests by farmers on Delhi's borders against the Centre's three new farm laws.

19:06 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Agriculture Minister Tomar will meet protesting farmers to end their stir: Amit Shah

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will meet protesting farmers on Monday or Tuesday to end their stir, Home Minister Amit Shah informed news agency PTI Sunday. 

18:49 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Farmers at Ghazipur border set up 'Neki ki divar' for protesters

It was an ordinary roadside wall of brick and mortar till a day ago, but now it is called the "Neki ki divar" (wall of goodness). From clothes to toiletries to medicines, the protesters who are continuing their sit-in at Delhi's Ghazipur border against the Centre's new agri laws can get these things by writing their needs on this wall.

"We have set up a 'Neki ki divar' today. The idea is to ensure all our farmer brothers and sisters are well equipped to be a part of the protest and keep themselves warm in Delhi's harsh weather," Survinder Kisan, one of the protesters at Ghazipur border, said. Two kiosks have been attached to the roadside wall at the protest site.

"At one place people can leave what they want to donate and the other side is for protesters who can collect things as per their needs from the existing stock," he said.

"If what they need is not available, they can write it on the wall and it will be provided to them," Survinder Kisan, one of the protesters at the Ghazipur border said. Space has been left on the wall and chalks have been kept, so that people can leave messages about their needs, he said, adding a register will also be maintained.

18:06 (IST)20 Dec 2020
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, has 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.

Farmers from different parts of the country, including Haryana and Punjab, have been camping at various border points of Delhi for two weeks to demand a repeal of three recent farm laws of the Centre.

16:42 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Farmers' protests more political in nature: Union Minister VK Singh

Union Minister VK Singh on Sunday said the on going protests by farmers against the three Central farm laws was "more political" in nature and underlined the NDA government's intent to ensure the welfare of the ryots.

Speaking to reporters in Thanjavur ahead of his interaction with farmers, the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways claimed that "actual farmers are very happy with what has been done in last six months."

He sought to allay fears on Minimum Support Price (MSP) and other issues, saying MSP will carry on while contract farming will only benefit the farmers. "Lot of misconceptions are being given where farmer issue is concerned. Farmers all over India mostly are happy, actual farmers are very happy with what has been done in last six months," he said.

15:23 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Explained: Why farmers continue to oppose Centre’s proposal to end impasse

Farmer unions lost no time in rejecting the amendments proposed by the Union government to the current farm laws. BKU (Dakuanda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh Patiala explains point-by-point why farmers are objecting to Centre’s offer.

Centre’s proposal: State governments can impose fee/cess on the private mandis

Farmers’ objection: “Creation of private mandis along with the state-run Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) will push all agriculture businesses towards private markets. The result will be the end of government markets and intermediary (commission agent) systems as well as APMC systems. After that only big traders and giant companies will operate in the markets and procure farm produce at incidental prices. The government has proposed that there will be uniform policy of taxes, fee, and cess both for government and private markets. But the governments would deliberately delay procurement as in case of paddy and turn the public markets inefficient and redundant.” READ MORE

14:00 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Farmers pay tributes to those who died during protests

Farmers at Delhi-UP border in Ghazipur paid tributes to farmers who died during the ongoing protests against the new farm laws. Below are some pictures.

Farmers at Delhi-UP border paid tributes to farmers who died during the ongoing protests against the new farm laws. (ANI) 
At the Delhi-UP border in Ghazipur on Sunday. (ANI)
13:43 (IST)20 Dec 2020
In Punjab, rival parties accuse each other of same sin — doing BJP’s bidding

Amid farm protests, all political parties in Punjab have a common allegation against each other — of complicity with BJP at the Centre. Major political parties active in the state, including the ruling Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been trading charges over being in cahoots with the BJP.

While the Congress, has been levelling allegations against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Chief Minister and SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal’s family of complicity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both these parties in turn accuse Punjab CM Amarinder Singh of colluding with Centre after pressure due to Enforcement Directorate cases against his son, Raninder Singh.

12:28 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Parliament session cancelled to avoid debate on farmers' stir: Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday claimed the winter session of Parliament was cancelled to avoid a debate on the ongoing farmers' protest against the Centre's new farm laws.

Raut, in his weekly column in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', also questioned the need for spending "Rs 1,000 crore" on the Central Vista project when the Narendra Modi government was not interested in holding debates and Parliament session.

"The winter session of Parliament has been cancelled so that there can be no debate on the ongoing farmers' protest near Delhi," Raut said. (PTI)

10:54 (IST)20 Dec 2020
United in protest, Haryana-Punjab farmers say: ‘If our land goes what will we do with water’

Harbhajan Mann’s latest song titled ‘Eka’ released this week is proving to be a hit among farmers from Punjab and Haryana, apart from winning listeners outside these states as it he sings about Kerala, UP, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh farmers too.

The song has become the one played often these days in Chaupal meetings of Punjab-Haryana farmers in many villages of Haryana these days and specially inside the trolleys of villagers of both states. Hawa Singh, a retired teacher who lives in Kablana village of Jhajjar district of Haryana, said, “Punjab farmers came to our village few days back and we did meeting with them. The entire village is united against farm laws…other issues are secondary. Now, politicians cannot divide us anymore as they keep on raking issue of Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal time and again.”

10:18 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Medical staff of different hospitals in Punjab reach Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border)

Medical staff of different hospitals in Punjab have reached Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border). "We're here to support agitating farmers but we all are ready to serve if anyone falls ill," said Harshdeep Kaur, who is working as a staff nurse at a hospital in Ludhiana.

09:32 (IST)20 Dec 2020
Farmers to observe ‘Shaheedi Diwas’ today to pay homage to those who died during Delhi Chalo march

Farmers at Ghazipur (Delhi-UP border) will observe ‘Shahidi Diwas’ today. “We’ll observe Shahidi Divas today and pay tribute to those who lost their lives during this movement,” Mange Ram Tyagi, Chief Secy, Delhi-NCR, Bhartiya Kisan Union, was quoted as saying by ANI.

09:17 (IST)20 Dec 2020
PM Narendra Modi pays tribute to Guru Teg Bahadur at Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi

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.

08:59 (IST)20 Dec 2020
By joining farm stir, BJP’s Birender Singh brings into focus Sir Chhotu Ram, his politics

When BJP leader and former Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh joined a dharna in support of the farmers protesting against the new farm laws in Haryana’s Jhajjar, he brought back into focus the name and politics of his grandfather Sir Chhotu Ram.

“I am morally bound (to support the farmers). The concept of MSP (minimum support price) and APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) was the handiwork of Chaudhary Chhotu Ram. First time, he brought in agricultural reforms (during British rule),” Singh said at the dharna organised by Sir Chhotu Ram Manch.

Hailed as the country’s first big agrarian reformer who stood up and fought for the rights of agriculturists, Sir Chhotu Ram and his brand of politics had been missing from the ongoing protests by the farmers over the three agri laws introduced by the Centre.

08:33 (IST)20 Dec 2020
NDA ally Hanuman Beniwal quits Lok Sabha panels: ‘Will march to Delhi’

Having earlier expressed his opposition to the new farm laws, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) chief and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal, whose party is an NDA member, Saturday announced his resignation from three Lok Sabha committees and said he will march towards Delhi on December 26 with two lakh supporters, in protest against the three Acts.

“The government in Delhi is in a mood to crush the farmer protests. After consultation with all office-bearers of the RLP, we have decided that on December 26, two lakh jawans and kisans will march towards Delhi through the Shahjahanpur border. This is a question of Rajasthan’s honour. We will not tolerate the attempts being made by governments to erase the existence of the farmer community,” Beniwal told reporters in Jaipur, adding that a decision on whether the RLP would continue in the NDA would be taken during the march.

A prominent Jat leader, Beniwal enjoys considerable support among the youth and the community in districts such as Nagaur and Barmer in Rajasthan. “The government in Delhi shouldn’t take the farmer protests lightly. If the protests flare up countrywide, it will be difficult for the BJP to tackle them,” Beniwal said Saturday.

Meanwhile,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said the new laws were not brought overnight, but were a result of long-held demand of reforms by parties, experts and progressive farmers. Modi, who was addressing farmers in Madhya Pradesh's Raisen district via video conferencing at a state-level Kisan Sammelan (farmers’ conference), said, “There were demands for the reforms from parties, experts, progressive farmers for many years. The previous governments had made promises to the farmers but never delivered. They are upset because what they had only talked about, Modi has done that,” he said, adding they don’t have any problem with the reforms but with Modi.

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