Farmers’ Protest Set To | Sidnaz Blog

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The farmers are protesting against three controversial laws passed by the centre early this year

New Delhi:
The Delhi-Jaipur highway was shut down Sunday afternoon after farmers agitating against the centre’s farm laws began a tractor march from Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border. Irate farmers, whose protest against the laws entered an 18th straight day today, planned to block the highway as they marched on the national capital to join thousands of others are already camped on the city’s outskirts. Fierce opposition to laws farmers say endangers their livelihoods (the centre says the laws will reform the agriculture sector) have entered an 18th straight day. Talks with the centre have so far failed, with neither side willing to budge; the farmers, thousands of whom braved lathi charges and tear gassing to reach and remain camped around Delhi borders, want the laws scrapped, while the centre will only consider amendments.

Here are 10 developments in this big story:

  1. This morning farmers began gathering in Rajasthan’s Shahjahanpur district, which is around 120 km from Delhi. Visuals showed farmers carrying placards and shouting slogans as they walked slowly down the highway. Tractors pulling tarpaulin-covered trailers, and flanked by cars with banners waved out of the windows, were also seen.

  2. Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav and activist Medha Patkar, who are among those leading this march, were seen with farmers near Shahjahanpur, holding up a banner that read: “Dilli chalo, Dilli chalo, Samyukt Kisan Morcha“. Last month Medha Patkar was stopped from entering UP from Rajasthan to join another protest by the farmers.

  3. On Saturday 29 farmer leaders from Haryana met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to show their support for the farm laws. “We will also protest if the government repeals the laws,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Mann) leader Guni Prakash told reporters after the meeting. This was the second group from Haryana to back the laws (the first met Mr Tomar last week) and indicates a possible (growing) division in the farmers’ camp.

  4. That same day Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, who days ago said he would resign if unable to secure guaranteed MSPs for farmers, said a “breakthrough” was expected in the next 48 hours. “I’m hopeful that in the next 24-48 hours there will be a final round of talks and the two sides will reach a conclusive solution,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

  5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has staunchly defended the farm laws, made another appeal Saturday and said his government’s initiatives would “increase farmers’ income and make them more prosperous”. “These reforms will give farmers new markets, advantages of technology, and help bring investments. It is my country’s farmers who will benefit the most from all this,” the Prime Minister said.

  6. The farmers say they are willing to continue talks with the centre, so long as the talks begin with repeal of the controversial laws. “If the government wants to hold talks, we are ready, but our main demand will remain the scrapping of the three laws. We will move onto our other demands only after that,” Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, a farmer leader camped at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border, said.

  7. The farmers have also accused the centre of trying to sow discord within their ranks- by re-casting the protest as engineered by the opposition, involving separatist elements from Punjab and as part of a “conspiracy by China and Pakistan” – and weaken what has been, so far, a remarkably united front. The centre, meanwhile has announced a massive campaign to push back against what it says is the spread of “disinformation” by the opposition.

  8. The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear hear three petitions related to the protests. The first – filed by a student from Delhi – asks that farmers be relocated since they are blocking emergency health services needed to tackle the Covid pandemic. The second seeks compensation for farmers citing use of force by police in Delhi and Haryana, while the third says farmers blockaded by police should be allowed to enter Delhi.

  9. Home Minister Amit Shah met farmer leaders last week – the highest level of central government involvement since the protests began – but, once again, no breakthrough was forthcoming. The farmers refused to accept the centre’s offer to amend the more problematic sections of the laws and called, again, for a complete rollback.

  10. Ahead of last week’s “Bharat bandh” several opposition parties issued a joint statement of support. Signed by the Congress, the DMK, the NCP, the RJD, the Samajwadi Party, J&K’s new People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and some Left outfits, the statement said the laws “threaten India’s food security, destroy Indian agriculture and our farmers”. The opposition has repeatedly called on the centre to rethink its contentious farm laws.

With input from ANI

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