Farmer leaders, protesting against the three controversial agriculture laws, Saturday observed ‘Sadbhavana Diwas’ to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary and held a day-long fast at protest sites on various border points of the national capital. Samkyukt Kisan Morcha member Abhimanyu Kohar said the ongoing agitation will gain momentum as farmers in huge numbers are set to join them in coming days.
The attempt by the Uttar Pradesh government to vacate Ghazipur protest site on Thursday had a ripple effect on the peasants’ agitation with number of protesters swelling at Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri borders. Days after BKU leader Rakesh Tikait’s emotional appeal had galvanised farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to flock to the Delhi-UP border site, several farmers said, “the fight shall go on against all odds.”
Tikait on Saturday addressed a huge crowd at the Ghazipur protest site, which has become the new focal point of the agitation after his teary-eyed speech when the crowd at Ghazipur border seemed to have thinned after the movement was tainted by the violent clashes on Republic Day. He reaffirmed the resolve of the farmers in this agitation, saying they have fought this battle for over two months now, and “they won’t relent or retreat”.
Here are the highlights from the day
With more people heading towards Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders to join the protest, the Union Home Ministry Saturday issued an order temporarily suspending internet services at the three protest sites and their adjoining areas from 11 pm of January 29 to 11 pm of January 31. The decision has been taken to “maintain public safety and averting public emergency” under Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules 2017, the official said.
The situation at the three protest sites has been tense since Thursday when a group, claiming as locals of the areas, forcefully entered the sites, claiming that their agitation had affected their livelihoods.
Haryana on Saturday suspended internet services in Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat, Hisar, Jind, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Charkhi dadri, Fatehabad, Rewari, Sirsa till Sunday in order to avoid any untoward incident owing to the farmers’ protests. The suspension of internet services in Sonipat, Jhajjar and Palwal districts is also extended till Sunday. With this, only voice calls are now allowed in 17 of the 22 districts. The government move has come at a time when people from across Haryana have started moving towards Delhi’s borders, especially Ghazipur, Tikri, and Singhu, to extend support to the farmers camping there.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday told the leaders of various political parties that his government at the Centre is constantly trying to resolve the issues raised by the protesting farmers through discussion, sources told PTI.
Speaking at the customary all-party meeting convened by the government ahead of the Budget session, scheduled on Monday, PM Modi said the Centre’s proposal to put on hold the three new agriculture laws still stands. The prime minister also said that Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was just a phone call away for protesting farmers and this has been conveyed to farmer leaders earlier this month.
“In the 11th Centre-farmer negotiation, we had said that Govt is open for discussion. Agriculture Minister had said that he’s just a phone call away. Whenever you give a call he’s ready for discussion. It still stands good. This is what PM said,” Union Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters after the meeting.
Meanwhile, a team of forensic experts Saturday visited the Red Fort to collect evidence as part of the probe into the violence that broke out at the iconic monument on Republic Day.
Thousands of protesting farmers deviated from their tractor rally route and breached the monument on January 26 triggering a conflict with the police.
The Crime Branch of Delhi Police is investigating the case and has so far registered 38 cases and arrested 84 people in connection with the violence. The force has termed the vandalisation at the fort as an “anti-national act”. “A team of forensic experts visited Red Fort and it is collecting evidence,” an official said.
Gram panchayat member of village Sukhna Ablu, district #Muktsar reading out resolution conditions for going to #Delhi . Rs 500 per acre fine for those who don’t go, they can come back in emergency. Social boycott of the ones who neither go nor pay fine @iepunjab @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/ftOO2WLXHj
— raakhijagga (@raakhijagga) January 30, 2021Subscriber Only Stories
A gram panchayat member of village Sukhna Ablu, Muktsar, on Saturday read out a resolution which states conditions for going to Delhi. The conditions include Rs 500 per acre fine for those who will not go. However, they can come back in case of any emergency, the resolution state. It also calls for social boycott of the ones who neither go nor pay fine.