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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Farmers’ protest highlights: Farmers observe relay hunger strike; Centre invites farm leaders for more talks

With farm unions' protests to press their demand for the repeal of the laws nearing a month, the government on Sunday invited farmer leaders for a new round of talks, and urged them to choose a date according to their convenience.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 24, 2020 7:37:07 am
Farm unions to meet on invite for talks, say govt’s letter ‘time-pass’Protesting farmers listen to a speech as they camp on a highway at the Delhi- Uttar Pradesh border, outskirts of New Delhi, Friday. (Photo: AP)

As the stir at Delhi borders enters 26th day, the farmers are observing a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all protest sites against the Centre’s new agriculture laws. The farmers also plan to 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,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Jagjeet Singh Dalewala said

With farm unions’ protests to press their demand for the repeal of the laws nearing a month, the government on Sunday invited farmer leaders for a fresh round of talks, and urged them to choose a date according to their convenience. In a five-page letter to Krantikari Kisan Union Punjab state president Dr Darshan Pal, Vivek Aggarwal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said: “You are requested to share the details in respect to your doubts after having discussion with farm union leaders invited earlier, and inform the date for punah vaarta (next round of talks) according to your convenience, so that the matter can be resolved by holding a meeting again at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi; so that the current agitation can be ended soon.” Aggarwal’s letter has come in response to Pal’s December 16 email, through which he had informed the government of the farm unions’ decision to reject the Centre’s proposal of concessions regarding changes in the farm laws.

In other news, a Facebook page, which was set up by farmer organisations’ “IT Cell” to “counter misinformation”, was taken down by Facebook on Sunday for a few hours. According to a statement issued by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, at 7 pm, a Facebook live was being streamed from the page where they were talking about how they had reached 94 lakh people through the page. “The page was unpublished at 7 pm. We had started a live (streaming), telling people that Kisan Ekta Morcha’s Facebook reach was 94 lakh and the page was unpublished. We will address a proper press conference tomorrow with all farm leaders… the page was (later) republished,” the statement said.

Live Blog

Stir enters 26th day; Day long hunger strike today; Centre invites farmer leaders for talks. Read highlights below.

00:32 (IST)22 Dec 2020
SAD to hold Akand Paths to honour farmers’ sacrifices during ongoing stir

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to hold Akhand Paths from January 2 onwards “to commemorate the sacrifice of Sant Ram Singh Singhriwala and 42 others who were martyred during the ongoing farmer agitation” besides “redoubling efforts to reach out to all like minded political parties to force the BJP led central government to repeal the three agri Acts”.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the party’s core committee which was presided over by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. READ MORE 

22:21 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Visuals from Delhi's Ghazipur border

Farmers on Monday briefly blocked a road at Delhi's Ghazipur border.






20:15 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Singhu border: Farmers queue up to register for blood donation camp

Several protesting farmers queued up here at the Singhu border on Monday to register their names for a blood donation camp set up by a Ludhiana-based NGO.

More than 240 protesting farmers have so far donated blood at the camp, which began on Sunday and has been set up by Rehras Sewa Society.

A four-member team of the NGO, along with nine members of the blood bank, started their camp here at the Singhu border on Sunday around 10.30 am and by 5 pm, 190 farmers had donated blood. (PTI)

Protesting farmer attempts to kill self near Delhi border | India News,The Indian  Express

20:10 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Opinion | MP has pushed its agricultural sector into throes of uncertainty

Sunit Arora writes: Madhya Pradesh is primarily an agricultural state. One-third of its gross state domestic product comes from this sector, half of the state’s area is used for cultivation, and 70 per cent of the total workers and 85 per cent of the rural workers are dependent on agriculture for livelihood (“Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Economic Survey” 2016). The state has posted high growth rates in the agricultural sector in recent years, but the growth has been skewed in favour of the state’s irrigated parts and a small number of crops. High agricultural growth has, thus, been accompanied by an increase in the number of farmer suicides and regular incidents of dumping of unsold produce on the highways by farmers due to sharp declines in prices. Farmer agitations, taking place at frequent intervals in the state, have, however, failed to attract national attention, barring the 2017 Mandsaur incident in which five protesting farmers died. Read more here.

16:59 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Protesting farmer attempts to kill self near Delhi border

A farmer from Tarn Taran district of Punjab Monday allegedly tried to kill himself at the Singhu border area of Delhi. According to sources, the 65-year-old farmer was first admitted to Sonipat’s civil hospital but was later referred to Rohtak’s Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences. He also wrote a note in support of protesting farmers. A police spokesperson said that the farmer is currently under treatment and matter is being probed. More details here.


16:14 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Group of farmers sit on relay fast in UP

A group of 11 farmers here sat on an indefinite relay fast against the three agri laws in Bindki area, police said on Monday.

The farmers, led by District Panchayat member Bablu Kalia, sat on the relay fast from Sunday at Ambedkar party, Station House Officer Bindki Satyendra Singh said.

Bablu said that the new farm laws are 'death warrant' for the farmers and they will protest it till they are withdrawn. (PTI)

15:17 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Farmer attempts to kill self at Singhu border

A farmer Monday attempted to kill self at Singhu border. He has been referred to PGI Rohtak.

15:10 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Karnataka: Traders protest hike in AMPC market fee

A token strike was observed by traders of various Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets in Karnataka on Monday, protesting the hike in the market fee by the state government recently.

Some APMC markets were shut while protests took place elsewhere against the hike in the fee from 0.35 per cent to one per cent of the transaction value, President of APMC Committee, Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ramesh Chandra Lahoti told PTI.

15:05 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Special Kerala Assembly session on Dec 23 to discuss farm laws

The CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala on Monday decided to convene a special session of the state assembly on December 23 to discuss the three contentious farm laws enacted by the Centre recently, news agency PTI reported. The decision in this regard was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan this morning.

'Move aside': Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan's angry outburst at media again |  India News,The Indian Express

12:20 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Demnstration on at Burari protest site

Demnstration on at Burari protest site.

12:01 (IST)21 Dec 2020
‘This is our home now’: With beds, blankets, charging points, farmers make tractor-trolleys habitable

As the protest at the Singhu border crosses three weeks amid dipping temperatures, farmers have converted their tractors-trolleys into mini-homes — complete with beds, blankets, music system, groceries, water and other essentials.

Raspinder Singh (31), a farmer from Patiala, and 10 of his friends sleep inside a trolley every day. While the platform of the vehicle is covered with mattresses and parali (crop stubble) to keep the space warm, the top is covered with a long yellow tarpaulin.

Singh, who has also put an electrical switchboard on the side to charge phones and light bulbs, said: "This is our home now. We have made all arrangements so we can stay here for long. Khalsa Aid and some other volunteers gave us more blankets. We have fixed a bulb on the top for light; we also have a Bisleri water can." Read full story by Jignasa Sinha

10:48 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Singhu protest site: Amid biting cold, medical camps ensure help at hand

As the scale of the protest at the Singhu border becomes bigger by the day amid the biting cold, volunteers are ensuring there is no dearth of medical aid for farmers. Since November 26, several medical camps — akin to temporary clinics — have come up, which cater to various ailments, check blood pressure and provide quick relief medicines.

The camps, mostly set up by NGOs and volunteer organisations from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, are essentially makeshift tents with dozens of medicine boxes on display. While some protesters know what medicines they require, others are guided by doctors, who are at the site from morning till evening.

At a camp set up by the Medical Service Centre, a national-level voluntary medical organisation, behind the main protest stage, counters have been designated for treatment. Patients need to register at the first counter, following which a general physician evaluates them at a second counter. A doctor provides a prescription, which is presented at the third counter where another volunteer hands over the medicine.

09:42 (IST)21 Dec 2020
From Tikri, farmers travel to Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh to fetch supplies

Every day, Dev Roz, a 21-year-old student from Rewari and a member of the Jamindara Student Organisation (JSO), travels to five different places to buy drinking water for protesters at the Tikri border. At 10 pm, he first receives a text from the farmer leaders about the requirement. He then sets off in a truck, buying all the bottles at night so he can reach the protest site early the next day.

“Today, I collected more than 1.5 lakh Bisleri bottles from Delhi’s Nangloi and Mundka and Haryana’s Bahadurgarh and Rohtak. We get money from the general secretary to buy water; sometimes, the shopkeepers give us the bottles for free,” said Dev, who joined the protest with his family two weeks ago. Read full report by Jignasa Sinha

09:40 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Tributes pour in for farmers who died

On Sunday, protesters across the three borders paid tributes to farmers who died since the protests began. At Ghazipur, Hakam Sandhi (40), a farmer from Karnal, said, “The sacrifice of these farmers who lost their lives is very important. We pay our tributes to Guru Teg Bahadur every year; this year, we decided to pay tributes to the 29 farmers who were martyred as well...”

While some of the farmers died in road accidents, others died of natural causes ostensibly aggravated by harsh weather. 

09:39 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Centre invites farm leaders for more talks

With farm unions' protests to press their demand for the repeal of the laws nearing a month, the government on Sunday invited farmer leaders for a fresh round of talks, and urged them to choose a date according to their convenience. In a five-page letter to Krantikari Kisan Union Punjab state president Dr Darshan Pal, Vivek Aggarwal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said: “You are requested to share the details in respect to your doubts after having discussion with farm union leaders invited earlier, and inform the date for punah vaarta (next round of talks) according to your convenience, so that the matter can be resolved by holding a meeting again at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi; so that the current agitation can be ended soon.” Aggarwal’s letter has come in response to Pal’s December 16 email, through which he had informed the government of the farm unions’ decision to reject the Centre's proposal of concessions regarding changes in the farm laws.

On Sunday, protesters across the three borders paid tributes to farmers who died since the protests began. At Ghazipur, Hakam Sandhi (40), a farmer from Karnal, said, “The sacrifice of these farmers who lost their lives is very important. We pay our tributes to Guru Teg Bahadur every year; this year, we decided to pay tributes to the 29 farmers who were martyred as well...”

While some of the farmers died in road accidents, others died of natural causes ostensibly aggravated by harsh weather. Among those who came in solidarity were singer Babbu Maan and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. A group of retired army personnel also visited the borders. At Tikri, farmers held a shradhanjali and puja ceremony while photos of those who died were put up next to the stage at Singhu.

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