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Farmers’ protest Highlights: Narendra Tomar says informal talks on, hopeful to reach solution before year ends

Farmers Protest Highlights: Around 20 farmers, many of them are from Punjab, have so far died either of natural causes or in road accidents, the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) leader said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 19, 2020 11:43:53 am
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Farmers’ Protest Live Updates: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar Friday said that the government is hopeful of resolving farmers’ agitation against three new farm laws before the new year and is continuing its informal dialogue with various groups to diffuse the crisis.

In an interview with PTI, Tomar asserted that the three new farm laws are beneficial for farmers and the government is ready to give a written assurance that the minimum support price (MSP) and mandi system will continue.

Earlier today, the DMK-led opposition in Tamil Nadu started a day-long hunger strike in support of farmers protesting against the three new farm laws passed by the central government. On Friday, DMK chief and Leader of Opposition, M K Stalin, party MP Kanimozhi and leaders of alliance parties participated in the protest in Chennai. Stalin slammed Centre and state government for not paying heed to the request of farmers and said that the NDA government has been passing anti-people laws.

Thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at Delhi borders for more than three weeks. Several protesting leaders have threatened to step up their agitation and have said they are prepared to celebrate the Republic Day next year with their own tractor rally on Delhi borders.

Live Blog

Farmers protest enters day 23; SC hears plea seeking removal of farmers from borders; one more farmer dies at Tikri Border; Follow latest updates here

19:53 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Farmers' protest affects traffic movement on Jaipur-Delhi highway

The traffic on Jaipur-Delhi national highway remained partially affected for the sixth consecutive day on Friday due to the farmers' agitation near the Rajasthan-Haryana border.

Despite intense cold conditions, the farmers have been staying put in Shahjahapr near the border since Sunday, protesting against the three agri laws introduced by the Centre.

One side of the highway, from Jaipur to Delhi, is closed whereas the other side, from Delhi to Jaipur, is open for traffic. (PTI)

18:45 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Actor Swara Bhasker joins farmers’ protests at Singhu border

Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker joined the farmers’ protest at Singhu border on Thursday. Bhasker shared on Twitter, “A humbling day, to see the grit, resolve and determination of protesting farmers and the elderly at #SinghuBorder #FarmersProtests.”

In an interview with NDTV, Swara said that she was not there to give a message but to learn more about the protest. “I am here in solidarity. I am not from a farmer’s family. I am not a farmer, but I have a relationship with farmers because I have a relationship with roti,” she said. More details here.


farmers protest swara bhasker

16:55 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Informal talks on, hopeful to reach solution before year ends: Narendra Tomar

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar Friday said that the government is hopeful of resolving farmers’ agitation against three new farm laws before the new year and is continuing its informal dialogue with various groups to diffuse the crisis.

In an interview with PTI, Tomar asserted that the three new farm laws are beneficial for farmers and the government is ready to give a written assurance that the minimum support price (MSP) and mandi system will continue.

"We have constantly been holding discussions with farmers' unions... Overall, our effort is to reach a solution through dialogue with them. We are still open for talks. We are holding discussions with unions. I hope through dialogue we can move towards reaching a solution," Tomar said while replying to a query about the stalemate and way forward.

Those stopping supply trains to soldiers can't be farmers: Agriculture  Minister Tomar | India News,The Indian Express

16:28 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Focus only on resolving the standoff with farmers: Ashok Gehlot to Centre

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Friday asked the central government to focus on resolving its standoff with farmers over three farm laws and keep other issues on hold. Gehlot also claimed that be it the judiciary or bureaucracy, all are functioning under pressure from the Centre.

Rajasthan will not implement CAA: CM Ashok Gehlot | India News,The Indian  Express

15:48 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Opposition always used farmers for vote-bank politics: PM Modi

Addressing farmers in Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing at a state-level Kisan Sammelan (farmers’ conference), organised in Raisen district, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the opposition has always used the farmers for their vote-bank politics. “People should seek replies from political parties who talked about agricultural reforms in their manifestos,” he added. More details here.




14:41 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Cremation of Baba Ram Singh at Singhra gurdwara

Cremation of Baba Ram Singh at Singhra gurdwara.

14:28 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Farm laws were not brought overnight, says PM Modi at MP Kisan Sammelan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the Opposition used farmers for its vote-bank politics and is now upset that the his government brought the farm laws. He said the legislations were not brought overnight. "There were demands for the reforms 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 addressing the farmers in Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing at a state-level Kisan Sammelan (farmers' conference), organised in Raisen district.

PM Modi said a total amount of Rs 16 thousand crores are being transferred into the bank accounts of 35 lakhs farmers of Madhya Pradesh. "Today, several farmers have been given Kisan Credit Card. Earlier, they were not available to all farmers. But we changed rules to make Kisan Credit Card available to all farmers across the country," he added. Read more

12:49 (IST)18 Dec 2020
PM Modi to address farmers in Madhya Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address farmers in Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing at a Kisan Sammelan (farmers' conference).

12:06 (IST)18 Dec 2020
DMK, allies begin hunger strike in support of protesting farmers

The DMK-led opposition in Tamil Nadu on Friday started a day-long hunger strike in support of farmers protesting against the three new farm laws passed by the central government, reported news agency PTI. On Friday, DMK chief and Leader of Opposition, M K Stalin, party MP Kanimozhi and leaders of alliance parties participated in the protest in Chennai.

11:56 (IST)18 Dec 2020
In UP, farmers get notice of Rs 50 lakh for protests, police say will revise sum

Days after notices were sent by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in UP's Sambhal asking farm leaders to submit personal bonds of Rs 50 lakh each to prevent them from “inciting” farmers to join the protests against the Centre's new laws, police Thursday claimed the amount was “a clerical error” and will be reduced. But leaders said the notice itself is a means to “throttle democratic protest”.

The notices for Rs 50 lakh each were sent to six leaders in Sambhal, mainly office-bearers of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Asli).

Similar notices seeking bonds of Rs 5 lakh each were sent to six others. They were issued on December 12 and 13 under section 111 of the CrPC, which authorises the magistrate to send a show-cause notice under a bond.

09:20 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Now out on stands: a newsletter for farmers

It was a few nights ago that the idea of a newsletter in Hindi and Punjabi was born inside a farmer’s trolley at Singhu border, where thousands have been protesting against the farm laws since November 26. Finally, on Thursday night, at least 2,000 copies of the four-page newsletter — aptly called Trolley Times — reached Singhu and Tikri borders, for circulation Friday.

“Judaange, Ladaange, Jeetange!” is the page-one headline of the first issue of the bi-weekly newsletter, which has photographs, cartoons, poems, news reports and opinion pieces written by union leaders and protesting farmers. Of the four pages, one is in Hindi.

“I’ve been here from day one, and noticed that the morcha at Tikri and Singhu borders are spread across several kilometres. Not everyone shows up to listen to the speakers on stage daily, they ask each other what transpired... Through the newsletter, the message from the stage, the development in talks with the government, among other such reports, can easily reach farmers,” said scriptwriter Surmeet Maavi (46), who started Trolley Times with Barnala-based documentary photographer Gurdeep Singh Dhaliwal (27).

09:17 (IST)18 Dec 2020
Those stopping supply trains to soldiers can’t be farmers: Agriculture Minister Tomar

With farmer unions rejecting the concessions he proposed to end their opposition to the new farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar Thursday slammed the Opposition parties and others for backing the protests to make “innocent farmers… puppets of their politics”.

In an open letter to farmers protesting at the gates of Delhi, Tomar said those stopping trains carrying supplies to soldiers at the borders, especially at a time when the situation in Ladakh is “challenging”, cannot be farmers.

21:14 (IST)17 Dec 2020
PM to speak on farm laws' 'benefits' in address to MP farmers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak about the "beneficial provisions" of the new farm laws during his virtual address to the farmers of Madhya Pradesh on Friday as part of a state-level programme, a senior official said.

An official of the Madhya Pradesh Public Relations Department on Thursday said the PM would address the farmers in the state around 2 pm.

The MP government has organised a state-level 'Kisan Kalyan' event in Raisen district, wherein Chief Minister Shivraj Singh will transfer the relief amount of Rs 1,600 crore into the bank accounts of nearly 35.50 lakh farmers for the damaged kharif crops, the official said. (PTI)

20:41 (IST)17 Dec 2020
Kejriwal indulged in cheap theatrics by tearing copies of farm laws: Harsimrat

Former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday accused Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal of indulging in "cheap theatrics" by tearing copies of the farm laws. She said his government in Delhi was among the first to notify one of the central laws related to agriculture.

In a statement, Badal said the Delhi CM was known as a "dramebaaz" but this time he indulged in "cheap theatrics" and "unparalleled hypocrisy" by tearing the same laws in the Vidhan Sabha, one of which he had notified on November 23.

"The Delhi chief minister is only shedding crocodile tears in a desperate bid to wipe away the blot he has put on his name by rushing to notify the farm laws on the directions of the central government. These dramas however won't help.

"Farmers know that Kejriwal and AAP have never supported their struggle and Kejriwal has always danced to the tune of the central government," she alleged. (PTI)

20:06 (IST)17 Dec 2020
Farm-law impasse should be resolved through dialogue: BKU chief

Bharatiya Kisan Union president Naresh Tikait said farmers did not want conflict during the protest against the new farm laws and the issue should be resolved through dialogue.

Tikait said the Centre should repeal the farm laws in public interest, adding that the contentious legislations were not in favour of the farmers.

Addressing the media in Muzaffarnagar before his departure to Delhi, Tikait suggested that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, BJP veteran L K Advani and RLD leader Ajit Singh should be part of the dialogue to resolve the issue. (PTI)

19:24 (IST)17 Dec 2020
In letter to farmers, Agriculture minister reiterates assurance on MSP

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in a letter addressed to farmers reiterates that the government is ready to give a written assurance regarding the MSP. He also said some vested groups are trying to create confusion in the minds of the farmers.

19:16 (IST)17 Dec 2020
Govt launches e-booklet highlighting success stories of farmers benefitting from farm laws

As farmers intensify their protest seeking repeal of three farm laws, the government on Thursday issued an e-booklet highlighting the success stories of farmers who have benefited from contract farming after enactment of these legislations.

In the 100-page e-booklet 'Putting Farmers First', the government said it has made clear the "truth" about the farm reforms and has mentioned "what will happen" and "what will not happen" for farmers. It also asserted that reforms in the farm sector were undertaken step by step in the last six years keeping in mind the needs of farmers.

The government asserted that the three farm laws were enacted in September after "two decades of consultations." (PTI)

19:13 (IST)17 Dec 2020
Another BKU faction reaches Noida; homage paid to 'martyrs' of farmers stir

Another group of farmers reached Noida on Thursday and attempted to move to Delhi to join the bigger stir against the new central farm laws but were prohibited by police deployed in a large number near the Chilla border.

Scores of members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ambavat) faction were stopped near Mahamaya flyover on the Noida-Delhi Link Road, with the development obstructing traffic movement on the key route, according to police officials.

Meanwhile, protestors from various districts of western Uttar Pradesh and chiefly belonging to the BKU (Bhanu) and the BKU (Lok Shakti) stayed put at the Chilla border and the Dalit Prerna Sthal, respectively.

Scores of BKU (Lok Shakti) members paid tribute to a 65-year-old Sikh preacher supporting the farmers' agitation who allegedly committed suicide near the Singhu border on Wednesday. (PTI)

18:43 (IST)17 Dec 2020
Not even one per cent of farmers opposing farm laws: Gujarat Deputy CM

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel Thursday claimed that very few farmers were agitating against the Centre's new agri laws, adding that the protests were a conspiracy to malign Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image.

"Except in Delhi, there are no protests anywhere in the country. No one is agitating in Gujarat. Some 50,000 persons from a population of 130 crore want the government to scrap the laws which are passed by Parliament.

"What is the meaning of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha if we have to follow orders of 50,000 persons," PTI quoted Patel as saying.

"Anti-nationals, leftists, Khalistanis, pro-China elements and members of Tukde-Tukde gang have infiltrated the protests and pumping in money to keep the farmers at protest venues," the BJP leader alleged.

"Not even one per cent (of farmers) are against these laws. The Congress is trying hard to incite people but not getting any support.

"Some elements, not farmers, are behind this agitation, which is actually a conspiracy. These elements want to malign PM Modi's image and want to present a distorted picture about India to the world," he said. (PTI)

18:25 (IST)17 Dec 2020
AAP MLAs burn copies of farm laws outside Delhi Assembly

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs burn the copies of the Centre's three new farm laws outside the Delhi Assembly on Thursday to show support to the farmers protesting near the borders of Delhi.

Meanwhile, days after notices were sent by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in UP's Sambhal asking farm leaders to submit personal bonds of Rs 50 lakh each to prevent them from “inciting” farmers to join the protests against the Centre's new laws, police Thursday claimed the amount was “a clerical error” and will be reduced. But leaders said the notice itself is a means to “throttle democratic protest”. The notices for Rs 50 lakh each were sent to six leaders in Sambhal, mainly office-bearers of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Asli).

The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions seeking the removal of farmers protesting at the borders of Delhi. The court said it recognises the fundamental right to protest against a law, but, at the same time, that cannot affect other fundamental rights or right to life of others, reported Live Law. "We recognise that the farmers have a right to protest. But we are on the mode of protesting. We will ask the Union what can be done to alter the nature of protesting which will ensure that rights of others are not affected," the court said.

Another farmer from Punjab was found dead near the Tikri border near Delhi on Thursday morning, PTI quoted a police official as saying. Around 20 farmers, many of them are from Punjab, have so far died either of natural causes or in road accidents, the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) leader said.

As the farmers' protests against the three new farm laws at the Delhi border enters Day 22, the standoff between the protesting farmers and the government seems headed towards a Shaheen Bagh-like gridlock. The three weeks of farmers' stir has got the ruling BJP to plan public meetings across the country. Taking a leaf from its CAA playbook, the party is getting its senior ministers and leaders to hold meetings with 'pro-farm laws farmers' groups to signal that the demand for repeal of the laws does not reflect a national farmer sentiment.

Meanwhile, more than 20 people have died in past three week duration of the stir, say the protesters. The deceased, many of whom are from Punjab, died either of natural causes ostensibly aggravated by the harsh weather, or in road accidents, the protesters say. Farmer organisations at Singhu and Tikri say they are now preparing lists of these persons to help their families and will press for compensation. Meanwhile, family members of farmers who died by suicide in Punjab over the years joined the ongoing protest at Delhi’s Tikri border Wednesday, with a few widows and mothers of the deceased farmers saying that they intend to remain at the site for the duration of the protest.

In other news, a Sikh priest from a gurdwara in Karnal district of Haryana, identified as Sant Baba Ram Singh (65), reportedly shot himself at Kundli, near the Singhu border where farmers have been protesting for the past 20 days, on Wednesday.

In a purported suicide note, Singh, also known as Nanaksar Singhra Wale, said he was pained by the plight of farmers.

While Singh is reported to have shot himself with his licensed revolver, Kundli police station SHO Ravi Kumar said they were yet to ascertain the weapon used. “His associates have given a statement to the police that he died by suicide. Our probe is on,” he said.

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