Farmers’ Protest Highlights: Farmers to observe Jan 30 as ‘Sadbhavna Diwas’, call for fast
Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait announced emotionally that "we will commit suicide but won't end the protest until the farm Bills are repealed".
By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, New Delhi |
Updated: January 30, 2021 9:41:41 am
Police pin down a farmer, who allegedly attacked Police SHO (Alipur) Pradeep Paliwal, during clashes between people claiming to be local villagers and farmers at the Singhu Border in New Delhi, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (PTI Photo)
Farmer unions protesting at different border near Delhi have called for a fast on January 30, saying they would celebrate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Sadbhavna Diwas’. “We appeal to everyone in the country to join us in observing fast on January 30,” PTI quoted a Kisan Ekta Morcha leader as saying.
A group of men claiming to be local residents Friday clashed with the farmers, who are sitting at the Singhu border protesting against the three farm laws, and tried to enter the protest site. The police had to intervene and lobbed tear gas to disperse the clashing units. Several policemen, including Delhi Police SHO (Alipur) Pradeep Paliwal, and protesters have been injured in the clashes.
This comes after locals staged a protest against farmers on Thursday demanding their removal from Singhu border, complaining that the two-month-long agitation has made their daily commute difficult. Hundreds of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) members stayed put on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway on Friday as the crowd swelled there overnight, notwithstanding the Ghaziabad administration’s ultimatum to vacate the UP Gate protest site.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday said the farmers’ protests will spread to big cities if the government acts rigid and does not repeal the three contentious farm laws. “Most farmers, except the ones in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, haven’t understood the (farm) Bill completely. The government should know that these protests will not stop here. This agitation will spread from here to the big cities because it is not only the farmers who have been robbed of their livelihood. It is going to create instability which is not good for the country,” he said at a press conference.
Meanwhile, leaders of 18 Opposition parties boycotted the President’s customary address to a joint sitting of Parliament ahead of the Budget session in solidarity with farmer unions who have been protesting the three recently-enacted farm laws at Delhi’s borders. Responding to their joint statement, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi made an appeal to leaders to attend, saying “the government is ready to discuss all issues threadbare”.
Farmers' protest Live News Updates: Support grows for Tikait; crowd swells at UP Gate; Opposition leaders boycott President's address ahead of Budget session; Ghazipur administration orders protesting farmers to vacate; youth who died in Republic Day violence suffered severe head injuries; and more. Follow latest news and updates below
At Red Fort on January 27, 2021 (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)
Delhi's border points at Tikri and Singhu remained under heavy police deployment on Friday in the aftermath of the Republic Day violence.
It was a tense night at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Ghazipur after the local administration issued orders to protesting farmers to immediately vacate the premises. The farmers, however, refused to give in. Tikait announced emotionally that "we will commit suicide but won't end the protest until the farm Bills are repealed". The order had a ripple effect in Punjab and Haryana, where a campaign began to send more protesters and tractors to the dharna sites as back up.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited two hospitals in the national capital on Thursday where the police personnel who were injured in the Republic Day violence are being treated. "We are proud of their courage and bravery," he said. As many as 394 personnel were injured in the violence at Delhi's ITO, Red Fort and other areas.
In other news, the Noida Police has registered an FIR against eight people, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pandey and Zafar Agha, for spreading violence on Republic Day through social media posts.
Meanwhile, sources told The Indian Express the central government wants to resume talks with farmer unions only after its offers are accepted. "They lost a good opportunity... They have (now) lost the moral authority. Now, we have to see whether they accept that offer or they come with a counter proposal," a source said.
On Wednesday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation of farmer unions, called off the march to Parliament House on February 1. However, it said the farmers' agitation would continue and there would be public meetings and hunger strikes across the country on January 30. Two organisations also withdrew from the protests at Delhi's borders in light of the violence.
After two months of peaceful protests at Delhi's borders and 11 rounds of negotiations with the central government, the Republic Day tractor parade spiraled into chaos Tuesday. One protester died when his tractor overturned while ramming a road barrier at ITO, and scores were injured, as mobs resorted to violence and vandalism while forcing their way to the Red Fort and hoisting their flag there.
The Delhi Police has registered 25 FIRs after the violence, and booked 37 of the farm leaders who were involved in the talks.
The six SKM spokespersons who have been named are: Jagjit Singh Dallewal, president, BKU (Sidhupur); Balbir Singh Rajewal, president, BKU (Rajewal); Darshan Pal, president, Krantikari Kisan Union; Rakesh Tikait, president, BKU; Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha; Yogendra Yadav, president, Swaraj Party India. Barring Yogendra Yadav, all the others took part in the talks with the government.
The others who were also among the farm union representatives involved in talks with the Centre and have been named in the FIR are: Boota Singh Burjgill, president, BKU Dakaunda; Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, president, Kirti Kisan Union; Ruldu Singh Mansa, president, Punjab Kisan Union; Inderjit Singh, president, Kisan Sangharsh Committee; Harjinder Singh Tanda, president, Azad Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Punjab; Gurbaksh Singh, president, Jai Kisan Andolan; Satnam Singh Pannu, president, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee; Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, president, Kisan Sanghrash Committee; Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president, BKU-Ugrahan; Surjit Singh Phool, president, BKU Krantikari; Harmeet Singh Kadian, president, BKU Kadian; Satnam Singh Sahni, general secretary, BKU (Doaba); Bogh Singh Mansa, president, BKU (Mansa); Balwinder Singh Aulakh, president, Majha Kisan Committee; Satnam Singh Behru, president, Indian Farmers Association; Bharat Boota Singh Shadipur, president, Bharti Kisan Manch; Baldev Singh Sirsa, president, Lok Bhalai Insaaf Welfare Society; Jagbir Singh Tanda, president, Doaba Kisan Samiti; Mukesh Chandra, Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee; Sukhpal Singh Daffar, president, Ganna Sangharsh Committee; Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary, BKU Lakhowal; Kirpal Singh Nathuwala, president, Kisan Bachao Morcha; Prem Singh Bhangu, president, All India Kisan Federation, Punjab unit; Gurnam Singh Chaduni, president, BKU Haryana; Kavita Kuruganti, Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch; Rishipal Ambavatta, president, BKU Ambavatta; Prem Singh Gehlot, president, All India Kisan Mahasabha, Haryana Unit.
One of the FIRs, on the Red Fort incident, names Punjabi film actor Deep Sidhu and Lakhbir Singh Sidhana alias Lakha Sidhana, gangster-turned-politician and president of the Malwa Youth Federation.