Farmers protest Dec 17 Highlights: The agitation against the Centre’s new farm laws enters Week 4 with thousands of farmers camping at border points of Delhi adamant on their demands, and the Supreme Court saying it will form a committee to resolve the deadlock.
There was disruption of traffic movement on key routes in the national capital on Thursday, the 22nd day of the farmers’ protest to demand for the repeal of the three new agri marketing laws. Farmers camping at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border points have led to closure of several routes in Delhi.
Here are the latest updates from farmers protest:
A sub-committee of the Maharashtra cabinet, formed to study the contentious farm reforms of the Centre, met for the first time here on Thursday. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in the state wanted to frame laws that will make farmers "stronger", Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said afterwards.
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.
Very few farmers are backing the protests at Delhi borders against the new farm laws, and "anti-nationals" have infiltrated the agitation, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel claimed on Thursday. The agitation was a conspiracy to malign Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image, he alleged. He was speaking at Morva Hadaf in Panchmahal district as part of the ruling BJP's campaign to counter the agitators' narrative. "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," he said.
In his letter to farmers, Agri Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar said many political elements have entered the protests and requested farmers not to fall for their lies. He said government acquisition at MSP is at record highs despite opposite claims. He said, even after the implementation of farm laws, MSP and APMC will continue to work. He further said that states cannot impose taxes on private buyers, but farmers will have legal recourse in courts at all times. He consoled farmers saying that a contractor cannot sell, transfer, or lease farmers' land under any condition. He said the government is ready to talk to farmers at all times.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday alleged that the Opposition parties are "misleading" farmers on the Centre's agriculture laws and said the government will ensure that they get a remunerative price of their produce. The chief minister alleged that the demoralised opposition is misleading farmers by telling lies and conspiring against farmers' interests. They are creating confusion among farmers. The 'mandis' (markets) will not be shut. No one will be allowed to grab the land of farmers," the CM said addressing a "Kisan Sammelan" here.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday declined to entertain a plea seeking aid, security and treatment of the farmers protesting on the borders of the national capital, saying a similar issue was before the Supreme Court. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan also said that the high court's jurisdiction does not extend to areas outside the national capital territory and added that the same plea could have been filed in any of the high courts of Rajasthan, Punjab or Uttar Pradesh.
The bench also observed that the plea was filed without doing any research or preparation and dismissed it. The court's order came after Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose and advocate Rhishabh Jetley told the bench that a similar was being heard by the apex court.
The Supreme Court on Thursday acknowledged the right of farmers to non-violent protests and mooted the idea of putting on hold the contentious farm laws to enable negotiations with agitating farmers which was opposed by the Centre saying agriculturists would then not come forward for the talks. The apex court, which made it clear that the issue of farmers' protest and the right to move freely of others would be dealt on priority and not the validity of laws at the moment, also said it was thinking of setting up an "impartial and independent" panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the impasse.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tore up copies of the Centre's three new agriculture-related laws in the legislative assembly, saying he cannot betray the country's farmers. Addressing the Delhi Assembly on Thursday, the chief minister also alleged that the laws have been made for electoral funding of the BJP and not the farmers.
I am a citizen of this country first, a chief minister later. This assembly rejects the three laws and appeals to the central government to meet the demands of farmers, he said. Kejriwal further said 20 protesting farmers have died so far and asked the Centre when it will "wake up".
Protesting farmers, who have been holding their fort at the Singhu border for over 20 days, are keeping monotony and boredom at bay by adding new books to their reading list day after day. For many, it is a new found love.
Delhi minister Kailash Gahlot on Thursday tabled a resolution in the legislative assembly to repeal the Centre's three new farm laws. The AAP government has convened a oneday special session of the Delhi assembly to discuss the alleged misappropriation of nearly Rs 2,500 crore in the municipal corporations.
The highway much travelled is now the road hardly taken and scores of dhabas along the DelhiPunjab route that once buzzed with truckers, tourists and others say their earnings are down by up to 90 per cent done in by the coronavirus pandemic and now the 22day farmers' protest. The stretch of National Highway 44 that makes it way from Delhi to Haryana, Punjab and thereon to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir is famed for its many eateries, necessary pitstops not just to stretch your legs but also to tuck into paranthas, dal makhni' and steaming cups of tea. But the road ahead is uncertain, putting a question mark on the future of the establishments and hundreds of employees who work in them. Several dhaba owners along the route said their earnings have reduced drastically with thousands of farmers occupying a 1012 km stretch of the highway, starting from the Singhu gateway out of the national capital, as they demand a repeal of the Centre's new farm laws.
The Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders have come up as the most prominent protest sites for the ongoing farmers' agitation, but one location Singhu seemingly has been receiving more limelight than the others. While there is no dearth of the fighting spirit among demonstrators at Tikri and Ghazipur either, the facilities at these relatively smaller protest sites are limited.
The government is willing to sit with the farmers protesting against the Centre's new farm laws and sort out the issues, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday. Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and elsewhere have been protesting at various border points of Delhi, including Singhu and Tikri, for over a fortnight, demanding that the Centre repeal the three new farm laws.
The Supreme Court on Thursday acknowledged the right of farmers to nonviolent protests, and said it was thinking of setting up an "impartial and independent" panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the impasse over three contentious farm laws. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it would set up the committee which may include experts like P Sainath and representatives of the government and farmers' bodies to look for the resolution of the deadlock over the statutes.
A 38yearold farmer from Punjab was found dead at a protest site near the Tikri border on Thursday morning, police said. Jai Singh, a resident of Tungwali village in Bathinda district, and his brother had been part of the farmers' protest at the HaryanaDelhi border against the Centre's three farm laws for the last several days, according to Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) leader Shingara Singh.
The Sambhal district administration in Uttar Pradesh has issued notices to six farmer leaders asking them to submit personal bonds of Rs 50,000 each, as a police report warned of breach of peace during the protest against the new farm laws, an official said on Thursday. The six farmers who were served notices include Bharatiya Kisan Union (Asli) district president Rajpal Singh Yadav and farmer leaders Jaiveer Singh, Brahmachari Yadav, Satendra Yadav, Raudas and Veer Singh. They have been organising protests in the district over the Centre's three contentious farm legislations.
The opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh will hold a statewide protest on Saturday against the rise in fuel prices and the Centre's three new farm laws, state party spokesman Bhupendra Gupta said on Thursday. Talking to PTI, Gupta claimed the prices of fuel and cooking gas have hit the roof and that farmers across the country want the agri laws to be repealed.
The agitation against the Centre's new farm laws enters Week 4 with thousands of farmers camping at border points of Delhi adamant on their demands, and the Supreme Court saying it will form a committee to resolve the deadlock. On Wednesday, the top court observed that the Centre's talks with the protesting farmers have "not worked apparently" and were bound to fail, and said it will form a committee having representatives of both the sides, but the agitating leaders dismissed it as no solution.
Insurance claims amounting to Rs 1,600 crore arising out of crop loss will be disbursed on December 18 and deposited in bank accounts of 35 lakh farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Wednesday. He made the announcement while addressing a 'Kisan Sammelan' in Jabalpur.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the Narendra Modi government is continuously working for the interests of the country's farmers. In a tweet in Hindi, he said the Modi government has taken another major decision and approved an assistance of Rs 3,500 crore for sugarcane farmers.
Uttar Pradesh BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh on Wednesday alleged that the Opposition is misleading the farmers while the Centre is trying to ensure that their income increases. He said the Congress, which was in power for a long time, "had set new records of corruption", due to which farmers were always upset.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Wednesday said he discussed the protests by farmers against the three new agri laws with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar but also noted the UK respects the fact that the agricultural reforms initiated by India were its domestic matter. Raab also said the UK's IndoPacific "tilt" is aimed at grasping the opportunities as well as to manage "challenges and the pressures" arising out of China's actions A day after he held extensive talks with Jaishankar, Raab told a select group of journalists that India and the UK have an "exciting range of possibilities right across the board", and indicated that some of them will be unveiled during Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit here next month.
Noted social activist P V Rajagopal on Wednesday offered to mediate between the agitating farmers and the government on the issue of three new farm laws, and said he would embark on a footmarch from Morena to Delhi on Thursday in support of the cultivators. Thousands of farmers have been camping at several Delhi border points for 21 days on the trot to press for repeal of the Centre's new farm laws.
First Published: IST