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Friday, February 26, 2021

Farmers Protest Highlights: No chakka jam in Delhi but will block highways on Feb 6, say farmers

Farmers' Protest Highlights: The Ministry of External Affairs said that the violence at Red Fort on Republic Day evoked similar sentiments in India as the recent siege on Capitol Hill. 

By: Express Web Desk | Chandigarh, New Delhi |
Updated: February 6, 2021 9:00:16 am
farmer protest, farmers news, kisan andolan, kisan andolan live, farmers protest in delhi, delhi farmers protest, farmers protest in delhi, farmer protest today, farmer protest latest news, rakesh tikait, bharat bandh, chakka jam, chakka jam 6 feb, chakka jam 6 feb 2021, chakka jam tomorrow, chakka jam timing, chakka jam farmers, chakka jam news, chakka jam latest news, chakka jam in india, chakka jam delhi, farmers protest ghazipurFarmers during the Kishan Mahapanchayat at Shamli, Uttar Pradesh, in protest against the new farm laws, on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Delhi Farmers Protest Highlights: Despite prohibitory orders in place under section 144 of the CrPC, thousands of farmers turned up for a khap mahapanchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district Friday to protest against the three new farm laws. Scores of regional ‘khap’ leaders, Bharatiya Kisan Union members and RLD vice president Jayant Chaudhary, among others, attended the event.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait Friday said that the ‘Chakka Jam’ (blockading of roads as a form of protest) planned on February 6 will not take place in Delhi, but will be done in other parts of the National Capital Region and the rest of the country, including the southern states.

“Dilli mein hum nahi kar rahe, wahan to raja ne khud qile-bandi kar li hai humare jaam karne ki zaroorat hi nahi hai (We are not going to do anything in Delhi, the king there has already fortified it, there is no need for us to do a blockade now),” he said, taking a veiled jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the fortification of the protest sites at Ghazipur, Tikri and Singhu, PTI reported.

In the Parliament, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government’s offer to amend the three farm laws did not mean they had any flaws and none from the protesting parties or their sympathisers have been able to point out any shortcomings so far. Tomar said the government has made efforts to double farmers income and increase share of agriculture sector in the country’s GDP, but people in “one state” have been victims of misinformation.

Wary of the protracted farmers’ agitation in the capital and the Republic Day incident at Red Fort, the Punjab government has stepped up efforts to reach out to the Centre to work towards an early resolution, sources told The Indian Express. Some top state officials have been camping in Delhi and are in constant touch with both the protesting farmers and the Centre.

Live Blog

Farmer Protest Highlights: Rakesh Tikait says no Feb 6 ‘chakka jaam’ in Delhi,India responds to US on farm laws, likens Red Fort violence and Capitol Hill siege; Punjab steps up efforts for talks with govt; Shamli admin says no to mahapanchayat, organisers stay firm; Follow Latest updates here

21:52 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Farmers at Ghazipur plant flowers in response to 'iron nails'

Farmers at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on Friday planted flower saplings along a road stretch, saying it was their response to "iron nails" fixed in the area by the police. Stringent security measures like multi-layered barricading, concertina wires, had come up along with iron nails cemented on roads around the protest site in the wake of the January 26 violence in Delhi.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said, "The police had fixed iron nails for farmers but we have decided to plant flowers for them." Rows of marigold flowers have come up near the barricading only in a "symbolic gesture" but a relatively bigger plantation drive was underway on a road stretch nearby, BKU media incharge Dharmendra Malik said.

"A flower garden is being created on the Delhi-Dabur Tiraha road. This will cover the dirt lying on road stretches, and also emanate fragrance and improve the environment around," Malik said. Farmers, who are getting the flower saplings from nearby nurseries, said they were on the path of "peaceful" demonstration. (PTI)

20:57 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Tomar has given detailed info on every aspect of farm laws in Rajya Sabha: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lauded Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's remarks on the new farm reform laws in Rajya Sabha, saying he has given detailed information on every aspect of the legislations.
     

In a tweet, Modi posted a video link to Tomar's statement and said it is his humble request that people hear his speech. Putting up a strong defence of the new farm laws, Tomar said the government's offer to amend them to assuage farmers' sentiments did not mean they had any flaws and none from the protesting unions or their sympathisers have been able to point out any lacuna. Countering the Opposition's claim that farmers across the country are agitated over the three laws, he said in Rajya Sabha that peasants of just one state are being misinformed and instigated.

20:55 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Govt strongly defends farm laws in Rajya Sabha, Opposition demands fresh ones after consultations

The government on Friday strongly defended the farm laws in Rajya Sabha and said its offer to amend them should not be viewed as if they had any flaws, even as the Opposition demanded that the legislations be repealed and fresh ones brought after consultations. The government also launched a fierce attack on the Congress and other Opposition parties for trying to instigate the farmers with wrong information.

Intervening in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar alleged that farmers were being misled by the Opposition and the agitation was only in one state. As many as 50 speakers from 25 political parties participated in the debate in Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks lasting over three days. While 18 members of the BJP took part in the discussion, seven Congress MPs and 25 from other Opposition parties also spoke. (PTI)

20:37 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Govt's approach towards farmers' protest adversarial, confrontionist, say 75 ex-civil servants

The central government's approach towards the farmers' protest against the three new farm laws has been an adversarial and a confrontationist one from the very beginning, a group of former civil servants said in an open letter written on Friday. The letter signed by 75 former civil servants, including Najeeb Jung, Julio Riberio and Aruna Roy, who are part of the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) also said that the apolitical farmers are being treated like "an irresponsible opposition to be derided, demonised and defeated".

The repeated, albeit unsuccessful, attempts to polarise the agitation along regional, communal and other lines are also reprehensible, they said. "Such an approach can never lead to a solution," the letter stated.

If the government of India is indeed interested in an amicable solution, instead of proposing half-hearted steps such as putting the laws on hold for 18 months, it can withdraw the legislations and think of other possible solutions, given the basic constitutional position that the subject of agriculture is in the State list in the Constitution, it said.

19:33 (IST)05 Feb 2021
No 'chakka jam' in Delhi says farmers' body, asks protestors to be peaceful during highway blockade

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the farmer unions protesting the three farm laws, on Friday said there would be no 'chakka jam' in Delhi on February even as it asserted that peasants in other parts of the country will block national and state highways for three hours but in a peaceful way.

In a statement, the SKM said emergency and essential services such as ambulance and school bus will not be stopped during the 'chakka jam' that is proposed to be held between 12 pm and 3 pm on Saturday.

"There will be no chakka jam programme inside Delhi since all the protest sites are already in a chakka jam mode. All roads for entering into Delhi will remain open except where farmers' protest sites are already located," the statement stated.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- for over 70 days, demanding a complete repeal of three central farm laws.

Darshan Pal, a senior member of Samyukt Kisan Morcha, said that 'chakka jam' will remain completely peaceful and non-violent, adding that protesters have been asked to not to indulge in any conflict with government officials or any citizen. (PTI)

19:30 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Langars, hookah keep farm protest going at Ghazipur

Young men served and relished community meals while the older folks huddled in groups sharing hookah, all of them soaking in the afternoon sun on Friday at the Ghazipur site on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh highway, where they have been protesting the Centre's new agri laws. 

Small groups of women too were in attendance at the demonstration, predominantly a show of strength by men pitched here since November, demanding the repeal of the Centre repeal new agri laws enacted last September.

An estimated crowd size of around 2,000 people on Friday encamped the UP Gate (Ghazipur) with Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait -- all pitched against a security apparatus surrounding the site from three sides set up to ensure no one moves to or comes from Delhi.

"We won't leave until our demands are met, come what may," said Rambir Singh, who hails from Bijnor in western Uttar Pradesh.

Singh, around 40, said he had joined the stir in November but went back home for some work after a month only to return to Ghazipur again. "The most difficult days of the winter are behind us now. Now the weather is also turning fine and we are in for a longhaul," he added. (PTI)

18:35 (IST)05 Feb 2021
When you're ready to suspend farm laws for 1.5 years, what's stopping you to withdraw them: Satish Chandra Misra

BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra today asked the government in Rajya Sabha if they were ready to suspend the three contentious farm laws for 1.5 years, what's stopping them to withdraw these altogether.

18:04 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Major farmers' meet in Shamli as clamour against farm laws grows in west UP

Thousands of farmers turned up for a meeting in Shamli district in western Uttar Pradesh on Friday amid a growing clamour against the Centre's agri-marketing laws in the region.

People from Shamli and nearby districts started reaching Shamli's Bhainswal village on tractors, two- and four-wheelers and on foot for a 'kisan panchayat' being held there by the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

The people gathered there despite the Shamli administration denying permission for the meeting and imposing prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC. 

This is the fourth major farmers' meeting in western Uttar Pradesh after Muzaffarnagar, Mathura and Baghpat, besides some in Haryana, to support the ongoing stir against the farm laws. 

Scores of regional 'khap' leaders, Bharatiya Kisan Union members and RLD vice president Jayant Chaudhary, among others, attended the event, even as security personnel were deployed in large number in the area. 

RLD leader Chaudhary had on Thursday tweeted that there are "144 reasons why I will go to Shamli tomorrow", attaching to it a news article on the denial of permission for the event by the Shamli district administration. (PTI)

17:13 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Rakesh Tikait cannot get away by shedding tears after tractor rally violence: K J Alphons

Stating that hoisting a religious flag at the Red Fort was "treason", BJP leader and former Union minister K J Alphons on Friday said in Rajya Sabha that farmer leader Rakesh Tikait cannot get away by shedding tears after the violence during their tractor parade seeking the repeal of new farm laws.

Defending the three farm laws, Alphons said there was nothing wrong in them. "If you are leading an agitation Mr Tikait, and you tell people take rods with you and then you finally shed tears and say sorry 'I didn't know'. Have a backbone," Alphons said during a discussion on Motion of Thanks on Presidential Address.

He also accused the Opposition of sowing the seeds of dissent and hatred against the government.

"When you sow the seeds of hatred against the government...you are sowing the deep seeds of extremism. What happened at Red Fort is treason. If not treason, tell me what was it?" he told the House. (PTI)

16:49 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Nails on roads for farmers will turn out to be nails in 'political coffin' of BJP: Jayant Chaudhary

Asserting that farmers will not settle for anything less than the repeal of the new farm laws, RLD vice president Jayant Chaudhary on Friday said the government's "strong arm tactics" will not work against the tillers and the nails being laid on roads for them would turn out to be the nails in the "political coffin" of the BJP.

Chaudhary, who has participated in a number of 'kisaan panchayats' in western Uttar Pradesh and is campaigning aggressively against the Centre's farm laws, said the government must immediately withdraw the legislations and draft them afresh after taking the consent of farmers.

In an interview with PTI, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice president alleged that the current leadership of the country is far removed from sentiments and is not perturbed by riots, deaths or big agitations as it is "cocooned" in its own bubble. "It is a totalitarian administration. They are not even listening to their own political people on the ground. If you speak to BJP MLAs or MPs off the record, they are not happy and they can feel the angst rising in the people of India, in the common man who voted for (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi," the former MP said.

Chaudhary said he has been to almost every 'dharna' site of the farmers, has sat among them, spoken to them at different levels, addressed 'kisaan panchayats', and feels that the farmers have formed an emotional connect cutting across different states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. (PTI)

15:55 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Farmers defy police order, gather for mahapanchayat in UP’s Shamli

Farmers during the Kishan Mahapanchayat at Shamli, Uttar Pradesh, in protest against the new farm laws, on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

15:21 (IST)05 Feb 2021
BKU official complains against fake Facebook profile of Rakesh Tikait

A Bharatiya Kisan Union official here lodged a complaint on Thursday alleging that some miscreants had opened a fake Facebook page of farmer leader Rakesh Tikait and posted obnoxious photos on it.

A complaint along with screenshots of the page were sent to Kaushambi police station officials, BKU press cell in-charge Shamsher Rana told PTI adding that an acquaintance had informed him about the fake ID.

Superintendent of Police (City 2) Gyanendra Singh said action would be initiated as and when police would receive the complaint in writing. (PTI)

15:15 (IST)05 Feb 2021
FIR against farmers' family for insulting national flag

The mother and brother of a farmer, who died in a road accident near the Ghazipur protest site, have been booked along with another person for allegedly insulting the national flag after a video of his last rites here showed the body draped in the Tricolour, police said Friday.

According to the flag code of India, draping the Tricolour in a civilian funeral is an offence. The farmer had gone to the farmers' protest site on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border and died in an accident near there, police said.

"Baljindra, a resident of Bari Bujhia village in Sehramau area had gone to participate in the farmers' agitation on January 23 with his friends. He died in a mishap on January 25 and is body was kept in a mortuary as that of an unidentified person. His family members came to know about the incident on February 2 and they brought the body here," Superintendent of Police, Jai Prakash Yadav, said.

"The family members covered the body with the national flag like that of a martyr and took it for last rites on Thursday. The video of the last rites went viral on social media after which an FIR was registered against Baljindra's mother Jasvir Kaur, brother Gurvinder and one unidentified," the SP said. (PTI)

14:32 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Haryana Police steps up security ahead of 'chakka jam' on Saturday

Haryana police have stepped up security measures in view of the protesting farmer unions' call for a countrywide 'chakka jam' on Saturday, an official said.

Senior police officers have been asked to personally supervise security and traffic arrangements at vital junctions and roads while district police chiefs have been directed to ensure deployment of adequate personnel, according to an official communication issued to them.

"In view of the January 26 incidents in Delhi, some anti-social elements and aggressive youth creating law and order problems, cannot be ruled out,? as per the communication dated February 4.

"It is assessed that as part of the protest programme on February 6, protesting farmers/unions may attempt road blockades of important national highways, state highways and interior roads," it said, asking the police to ensure necessary security arrangements are in place.

The police commissioners and district police chiefs have also been asked to make all out efforts to liaise with local leaders of farmer organisations to ensure peaceful conduct of their proposed programme, it said. (PTI)

13:18 (IST)05 Feb 2021
No questions on ‘Abki Baar Trump sarkar’, why get rattled by Rihanna, Greta: Adhir Chowdhury

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Friday targeted the Centre over its attack on foreign celebrities, who tweeted in support of the farm protests, questioning why the government is “rattled when Rihanna and Greta Thunberg expressed solidarity with the farmers.”

He said that instead of criticising these foreign individuals, the government too should have expressed solidarity with the protesting farmers.

In a series of tweets, Adhir Chowdhury wondered why no questions were asked when some “nationalists” pleaded ‘Abki Baar, Trump sarkar’ in the United States or when India protested during the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in the country. 

“Some of our nationalists pleaded in America that “Aab ki bar, Trump ki sarkar”, what did it mean? When we protested in chorus against the brutality on #GeorgeFloyd , nobody has questioned!!!” he tweeted.

13:16 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Farmers are being misled: Narendra Tomar in Rajya Sabha

As the Opposition continues to attack the government in Parliament over the farmers’ protests against the new farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar on Friday said the “farmers are being misled”.

“Our efforts are that farmers’ incomes are doubled and contribution of agriculture to GDP increases rapidly. These agriculture laws are also an important step in this direction. I want to tell his House and farmers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed towards welfare of farmers,” said Tomar in Rajya Sabha.

Challenging the Opposition to highlight any mistake in the farm laws, Tomar said, “Farmers are being misled that others would occupy their land if these laws are implemented. Let me know if there is a single provision in Contract Farming law which allows any trader to snatch away the land of any farmer.” Read the report here. 

12:52 (IST)05 Feb 2021
'Our focus is to bring positive change in farmers' lives,' says Agriculture Minister

"Our focus is to bring positive change in farmers' lives. Who would have thought that fruits &vegetables will be transported by rail? 100 Kisan Rails, that are in a way mobile cold storage, have been started. They are helping farmers get fair price of their produce," Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. (ANI) 

12:14 (IST)05 Feb 2021
Maximum force shall be pulled out from non-operational duties: Haryana ADGP (law & order) order ahead of 'Chakka Jaam'

In a set of directives to SPs & Commissioners ahead of the farmers' 'Chakka Jaam' (blockading of roads as a form of protest) planned on February 6, Haryana Additional Director General of Police (law & order) said that 'Maximum force shall be pulled out from non-operational duties. Intelligence network should be geared up and necessary preventive action may be taken.' (ANI)

12:04 (IST)05 Feb 2021
FIR against deceased farmers’ family for insulting national flag

The mother and brother of a farmer, who died in a road accident near the Ghazipur protest site, have been booked along with another person for allegedly insulting the national flag after a video of his last rites here showed the body draped in the Tricolour, police said Friday.

According to the flag code of India, draping the Tricolour in a civilian funeral is an offence.

“Baljindra, a resident of Bari Bujhia village in Sehramau area had gone to participate in the farmers’ agitation on January 23 with his friends. He died in a mishap on January 25 and is body was kept in a mortuary as that of an unidentified person. His family members came to know about the incident on February 2 and they brought the body here,” Superintendent of Police, Jai Prakash Yadav, said. (PTI)

11:53 (IST)05 Feb 2021
As politicians make a beeline to Ghazipur site, unions clarify: ‘not allowed on stage’

On Thursday, 15 MPs from 10 Opposition parties, including SAD, DMK, NCP and Trinamool Congress, were stopped by police from meeting the protesting farmers at Ghazipur border.

While they were not allowed to cross the police barricades, they later said the situation at Ghazipur border was like that of India-Pakistan border and the condition of the farmers resembles prisoners in jail. Several other political leaders had till just a day ago managed to reach the site and extend support to the farmers, of whom a large faction is led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait.

Unlike Singhu and Tikri borders, where no political leader has been allowed by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the rules at Ghazipur protest seem a bit relaxed. The political leaders, though welcomed, have not yet been granted the stage to address the farmers. Read the report here. 


Fifteen MPs from 10 opposition parties were stopped by police from reaching Ghazipur border to meet protesting farmers. (PTI Photo)

The BJP on Thursday said the support of some foreign celebrities to the farmers protesting against the three new farm laws was an attempt to "destabilise the country" and said that the Indian democracy "doesn't need foreign certificate". This comes after teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, pop singer Rihanna and several people from the international community came out in support of the farmers.

Opposition parties on Thursday slammed the government for its handling of the ongoing farmer protests. They accused the government of digging trenches and putting up spikes, where bridges should have been built to win over farmers, PTI reported. TMC leader Derek O'Brien pressed the government to repeal the three laws and offered a 'Repealing Bill 2021' drafted by him for the purpose.

A delegation of Opposition leaders was stopped from reaching the Ghazipur border Thursday morning to meet the farmers who have been protesting against the Centre's contentious new farm laws. The delegation included NCP MP Supriya Sule, DMK MP Kanimozhi, SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and TMC MP Saugata Roy.

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