The Delhi Police on Tuesday fired tear gas and used water cannons to stop thousands of farmers participating in the Bharatiya Kisan Union-led Kisan Kranti Yatra from entering the national Capital. The protests led to injuries to seven policemen, including an additional commissioner of police.
Thousands of farmers from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana were expected to converge at Rajghat on Tuesday to protest against the policies of the Narendra Modi government, and to remind it of its promises.
The protestors submitted 11 demands to the Centre, including implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, free electricity to farmers and waiver of farm loans. Bharatiya Kisan Union President Naresh Tikait said the government accepted just seven demands, and the protests will hence continue.
9 pm: All schools and colleges in Ghaziabad will remain closed on Wednesday as a precautionary measure in view of the agitation, ANI reports.
6.25 pm: As many as seven police personnel, including an additional commissioner, have been injured during the demonstrations, PTI reports.
5.51 pm: The Delhi Police has said that a section of the protestors turned violent and tried to break barricades, using tractor trolleys, despite the police force’s appeal that they wait until the outcome of talks between the government and farmers’ representatives, ANI reports.
“Some protestors resorted to stone pelting and wielded batons causing injuries to police personnel deployed on duty,” the police say. “Under these circumstances, only minimum required force was used to contain these aggressive and violent protestors.”
5.29 pm: Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has said that the Bharatiya Kisan Union has agreed to call off the agitation, ANI reports. “We held discussions with representatives of Bharatiya Kisan Union last night,” he says. “Another meeting was held at Home Minister [Rajnath Singh’s] house this morning. In the end, we reached agreements on some matters and they assured us that the agitation will be called off.”
4.36 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union President Naresh Tikait says farmers will not accept government assurance and will go ahead with the protest, reports Hindustan Times.
4.32 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Yudhvir Singh says government has not cleared it stand on the main demand – C2+50. “That is why the farmers are unsatisfied,” he says. “It didn’t clear its stand even on the other main issue of loan waiver.”
The National Commission on farmers headed by MS Swaminathan had recommended that the minimum support price be set at cost plus 50% of the cost (C2+50), according to Wire.
4.27 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made false promises to farmers, reports News 18. He was speaking at a rally in Maharashtra’s Wardha.
4.22 pm: Adityanath says those who have “exploited farmers are now shedding crocodile tears”, reports News 18. He says all steps will be taken to meet the demands of farmers.
4.20 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says the BJP government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi has solved all the concerns of farmers, reports ANI. “For the first time since Independence, farmers came into the agenda of a government which is evident from the work done by BJP govt in the past 4.5 years for farmers.”
4.18 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Yudhvir Singh says farmers had raised 11 demands, but the government agreed to seven. “They said they will have to think about those in a further meeting after which they will tell us, as it is a financial matter,” he says, according to ANI.
4.11 pm: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh meets Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and other officials to discuss ways to resolve farmers’ concerns, reports Hindustan Times.
4.03 pm: Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat says Centre will challenge the National Green Tribunal’s order on diesel vehicles in the Supreme Court, reports News 18. The tribunal in August ordered a ban on private and commercial diesel vehicles older than ten years, a move which affects farmers.
3.20 pm: Rashtriya Lok Dal workers block NH-58 near Muzaffarnagar, condemning police action against farmers, reports First Post. Workers blocked the highway with their bikes and tractors and raised anti-BJP slogans.
3.06 pm: Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat meets protesting farmers at the Delhi-UP border, reports News 18.
2.54 pm: The Centre has accepted a majority of the farmers’ demands, according to News 18. The demands that were accepted include a law on minimum support price and reduction of Goods and Services Tax on agricultural goods.
2.42 pm: Congress passes resolution criticising the police action on farmers during the Congress Working Committee meet in Maharashtra’s Wardha on Tuesday, reports News 18.
2.36 pm: Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana founder Raju Shetty says “farmers aren’t terrorists or Naxals”, reports ANI. “They’re coming [to Delhi] with demands,” he says. “Don’t they have the right to do that?”
Shetty says the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government “has killed farmers in Mandsaur” and they are now about to lose Madhya Pradesh. “I am warning PM [Narendra] Modi, if injustice with farmers continues, he will lose Delhi.”
2.20 pm: “We have left everything behind and come [here],” says an unidentified farmer, according to First Post. “And we will not leave unless all our demands are met. Due to the faulty policies of this government, farmers are crushing under increasing debt. This will not work.”
2.11 pm: Kartar Singh, a farmer from Punjab, asks if the farmers are “really dangerous” or a “threat to the city-dwellers”, reports News 18. “Why is the police hitting us and firing at us? We have not come to harm anybody. Let us protest and claim our rights.”
2.06 pm: Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat says Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met farmers union leaders and have reached an agreement on a “majority of the issues”, reports ANI.
2 pm: Janata Dal (United) spokesperson KC Tyagi condemns the police action on farmers, reports ANI. “Peaceful and unarmed farmers going towards Rajghat were brutally treated, they were lathi charged and teargas shells fired on them,” he says.
1.56 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says the two-year-long celebration marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi started with an assault on farmers. “Now farmers cant even come to the country’s capital to express their grief,” he tweets.
1.51 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala blames the NDA for “inhuman, unjust and unpardonable treatment of the farmers”. “What is the Modi government doing on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi?” he says. “The govt is brutally beating up India’s farmers.”
1.45 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait says the police action on farmers is wrong, reports ANI. “Our leaders are holding a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh,” he says. “We will decide our next course of action after consultation with our leaders.”
1.40 pm: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh says police will not take any aggressive action against the protesting farmers and such incidents will be investigated, reports First Post.
1.34 pm: The youth wing of the Congress party says Narendra Modi’s government is forcibly banning farmers from sharing their problems with the government. “Just shows that BJP govt only supports their rich friends and no one else; not the youth, or women or farmers! SHAME”
1.20 pm: Delhi Traffic Police issues advisory.
1.16 pm: Soon after Arvind Kejriwal’s comment that Delhi should be open to every one, the Bharatiya Janata Party accuses him of being interested only in politics.
“If you agree that Delhi belongs to everyone, then why do you not allow the medical treatment of outsiders in the state,” the BJP asks in a tweet. “Why do you differentiate between the sick? The truth is that you are neither interested in the farmers nor in Delhi, you are only interested in politics.”
1.13 pm: An old farmer asks the police if they are terrorists, according to Firstpost.
1 pm: Additional Director General of Police Meerut Prashant Kumar told reporters at the UP Gate on Tuesday morning that the farmers cannot enter without the government’s permission, Firstpost reports. “We have been trying to tell them that it is not possible to enter Delhi without the government’s permission,” Kumar says. “Farmers delegations have met Union ministers yesterday and they will meet a few ministers today to put forth their demands.”
He adds: “Everyone has the right to peaceful protests and the police will maintain peace and order in any condition.”
12.50 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury says India hasn’t seen such an agrarian crisis since Independence. “It reconfirms the fact that Modi government is anti-farmers,” he tells ANI. “Instead of providing relief to farmers, they are exasperating the crisis further forcing farmers to be under debt burden and distress suicides.”
12.45 pm: The protesters arrived on foot, in buses and tractor trolleys, reports PTI. “We are not seeking any alms from the government. We want our right,” Harmik Singh, a farmer from Meerut, says.
12.40 pm: Uttar Pradesh Minister Suresh Rana reaches Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence, ANI reports. They are expected to talk to some farmer leaders.
12.30 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reiterates that Delhi is for everyone and no one can stop them from entering Delhi.
12.20 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala condemns the police action against farmers. “On birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Modi govt [government] has shown that it is no different from the pre-independence British govt [government] in India,” he says. “British then used to exploit the farmers and today Modi government is firing tear gas shells at farmers.”
12.10 pm: Farmers raise slogans against the police, reports Firstpost.
12 pm: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav says: “This government has not fulfilled the promises it made to farmers, so it is all but natural that farmers would protest. It is unfortunate and we fully support the farmers.”
11.50 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questions why the farmers were not allowed to enter Delhi. “This is wrong. Farmers should be allowed to enter Delhi. We are with the farmers,” he tells ANI.
11.40 am: The police say the farmers started throwing stones as they tried to force their way on the highway that had been sealed, according to the Hindustan Times.
11.30 am: The Delhi Police fire tear gas and use water cannons to stop thousands of farmers from entering the national Capital from Uttar Pradesh.
The police put up barricades at the Uttar Pradesh Gate in Ghazipur along NH-24 to prevent farmers from marching to New Delhi.
11.20 am: “Why have we been stopped here [at the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border]?” asks Bharatiya Kisan Union president Naresh Tikait, according to ANI. “The rally was proceeding in a disciplined manner. If we don’t tell our government about our problems then whom do we tell? Do we go to Pakistan or Bangladesh?”
11.10 am: The Delhi Police on Monday imposed prohibitory orders in East Delhi in anticipation of the yatra’s arrival in Delhi. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibits an assembly of five people or more in an area where it has been imposed. The orders will be in place till October 8, and will cover the areas of Preet Vihar, Shakarpur, Pandav Nagar, Jagatpuri, Kalyanpuri, Ghazipur, Mandawli, Madhu Vihar, Mayur Vihar, and New Ashok Nagar.
11 am: The Bharatiya Kisan Union-led Kisan Kranti Yatra, which started out on September 23 from Haridwar in Uttarakhand, reached Ghaziabad – the Uttar Pradesh town adjoining East Delhi – on Monday.
The protestors are scheduled to submit a memorandum to the Centre listing their 21 demands, including implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, free electricity to farmers and waiver of farm loans.
This rally is reminiscent of the 1988 farmers march led by peasant leader Chaudhury Mahendra Singh Tikait, during which lakhs of farmers in tractors and trucks congregated at central Delhi’s Boat Club lawns and camped there for a week. This Kranti Yatra is being led by Naresh Tikait, one of the peasant leader’s sons. It started at Haridwar’s Baba Tikait ghat, named after the legendary leader.
Naresh Tikait accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of coming to power in 2014 by telling farmers that their income would be doubled. “But after grabbing power in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has forgotten its promises,” he said on Monday. “So we have come to remind them of their promises.”