10.34 pm: The Haryana Police have removed barricades from near the state’s border with Punjab in Ambala and Kurukshetra districts, reports NDTV. “Nobody will be stopped, commuters can travel with ease,” senior Ambala police officer Rajesh Kalia adds.

8.30 pm: The Aam Aadmi Party supports the farmers’ demands, says party’s Punjab in-charge and Tilak Nagar MLA Jarnail Singh, according to PTI. ‘Till these three dark laws are not rolled back, the farmers will continue their protest, and the AAP stands in support with them,’ he adds.

7.18 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar urges the farmers to end their protest, reports ANI. “The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers,” he adds. “We have invited farmers’ organizations for another round of talks on 3rd December. I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of Covid-19 and winter.”

6.32 pm: Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh leaders say that they have not yet decided whether the farmers of their outfit will go to the ground in Burari area of Delhi, or stay at the border and demand access to a different protest location in the city, reports The Hindu.

6.30 pm: Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda urges people of the state to extend all possible help to farmers marching to Delhi to protest against the Centre’s new farm laws, reports PTI.

“All possible help should also be extended to the farmers who may need medical help or treatment,” Hooda says in a statement. “All arrangements for accommodation and food should be made.”

6.26 pm: Leaders and officials of the Delhi government reach Nirankari Ground in Burari area of the city to review arrangements for the farmers protest.

“We’ve come here to deploy water tankers for farmers,” says Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha. “AAP government stands by farmers. Arvind Kejriwal-led government will take care of them.”

5.12 pm: All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee leader Kiran Kumar Vissa says it is a “historic day” after thousands of farmers were allowed to enter Delhi today for a planned protest against new farm laws, reports The Hindu. “The government has bowed to the pressure of the farmers and is allowing them to enter Delhi. All the tactics of obstructing farmers have failed and the Modi government has conceded defeat.”

5.05 pm: Visuals of traffic congestion at Delhi-Gurugram border as the police are checking vehicles amid farmers’ protest.

4.55 pm: The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee is firm in their demands to repeal the new farm laws, reports The Hindu.

“We have been on the road since early yesterday morning and were stopped at barriers 15 times along the way, but finally they had to let us enter,” says Ram Kumar, who is aligned with the Punjab Kisan Union. “We have come prepared to stay here until the Modi government gives in to our demands and repeals these laws. We will not leave until then, no matter what.”

3.27 pm: Farmers make their way into Delhi through the Tikri border, after the Centre gave them permission to hold demonstrations at a ground in the Capital’s Burari area, reports ANI.

3.21 pm: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar once again appeals to the farmers to stop their agitation. “The central government is always ready for talks,” he tweets. “The movement is not its way – the solution will come out of the conversation.”

3.14 pm: In Uttar Pradesh, activists of the Bhartiya Kisan Union blocked the Delhi-Dehradun National Highway at Nawla Kothi in Muzaffarnagar district and also staged sit-ins in Meerut and Baghpat, reports PTI. Due to heavy deployment of police personnel, however, the situation remained under control.

3.10 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi welcomes the news of farmers being granted permission to enter Delhi for their protests and says “this is only just the beginning”.

“Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] should have remembered that whenever ego clashes with the truth, it is defeated,” he tweets. “No government in the world can stop the farmers fighting the battle for truth. The Modi government has to accept the demands of the farmers and black laws will have to be withdrawn.”

3.06 pm: The Haryana Police register a case against a truck driver who rammed his vehicle into a tractor, leading to the death of a protesting farmer who was on his way to Delhi, reports ANI. Two others were also injured in the accident.

3.01 pm: The agreement to allow farmers to protest at the Nirankari grounds in Burari in Delhi was reached after discussions between the Union home ministry, the Delhi government and the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha leaders at the border point, The Hindu reports.

2.56 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomes the Centre’s decision to allow farmers to enter Delhi and “exercise their democratic right to protest”. Singh says the government should now also initiate immediate talks to address their concerns.

2.37 pm: Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma says protesting farmers will be allowed permission to enter the Capital and hold their demonstrations at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in Burari area, reports ANI.

2.29 pm: The Haryana Police fire water cannons and tear gas at farmers, who are trying to enter Delhi from the Shambhu and Sonipat border, reports NDTV.

2.19 pm: Kisan Sangharsh Samiti convener Mandeep Nathwan tells The Indian Express that 5,000 farmers have entered into Delhi from the Tikri border. The farmers came from the Delhi-Sirsa highway side, he adds.

2.16 pm: Several media reports say that protesting farmers have been allowed entry into Delhi.

Delhi Police personnel are going to accompany them, according to India Today.

1.44 pm: The Aam Aadmi Party government of the Capital denies permission to the Delhi Police to convert nine stadiums in the city into temporary prisons for protesting farmers, reports The Indian Express. “Non-violent protest is every Indian’s constitutional right,” an order by the government states. “They cannot be jailed because of it.”

1.29 pm: The Haryana Police personnel are releasing tear gas and firing water cannons at protestors at the Shambhu border near Ambala, reports ANI.

1.22 pm: Aam Aadmi Party legislator Saurabh Bharadwaj says the Delhi government is in full support of the farmers agitations, reports Times Now. “There farmers coming here to protest, it is their right,” he tells the channel. “How can the Centre enforce such laws on the farmers without having discussions with farmers’ unions?”

1.11 pm: The Delhi Police have parked buses, trucks and other large vehicles across border areas to prevent the agitating farmers from reaching the national Capital.

“We have also used water cannons and trying to hold them back without resorting to much force,” Assistant Commissioner of Police, West Delhi, Sudesh Ranga, present at the Tikri Border, tells The Hindu.

1.08 pm: The Delhi Metro announces the closure of exit and entry gates at six metro stations on the Green Line in view of the “Delhi Chalo” march by farmers.

12.42 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asserts that the voice of farmers “cannot be muzzled indefinitely”, and asks the Centre to immediately initiate talks with farmers’ leaders to defuse tensions. “Why wait till December 3?” he asks.

Singh says now is the time for the central government to show statesmanship and accept the demands of the farmers for an assured minimum support price for their produce. “If they can give verbal assurance I fail to understand why they can’t make it a legal obligation of the Government of India,” he adds.

12.39 pm: Farmers marching on the Bathinda-Dabwali road in Punjab break barriers put up by the police, reports The Indian Express.

12.24 pm: Women protestors in Sirsa, Haryana, continue their journey towards Delhi to express their anger against the Centre’s farm laws, reports ANI.

12.09 pm: Why are lakhs of farmers protesting?

The protests revolve around three legislations that were passed in September. Taken together, the laws loosen regulations on the sale, pricing and storage of agricultural produce.

They allow farmers to sell outside mandis notified by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee, and partner with private sector companies. Besides, the new laws take food items like cereals and pulses off the list of essential commodities, lifting stock limits on such produce.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has defended the bills as a way to rid the vast agriculture sector of antiquated procurement procedures and to allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big international retailers.

But farmers disagree. They say the laws could cause the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices and result in their being exploited by corporations that would buy their crops at cheap prices.

For the last two months, farmer unions unwilling to accept the laws have camped on highways in Punjab and Haryana states. They have been supported by opposition parties and some Modi allies, too, have called the laws anti-farmer and pro-corporation.

Flames emerge from tear gas released by the police to stop farmers opposing the newly passed farm bills from entering Delhi. (Credit: Danish Siddiqui/ Reuters)

12.00 pm: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, in a joint statement, say more than 50,000 farmers are expected to be at Delhi’s borders by Thursday evening, and their “numbers are expected to swell through the night as thousands of tractors and trolleys are carrying farmers, women, and children from interior areas of Punjab”, reports The Indian Express.

11.57 am: Heavy traffic jam is being reported on the Yamuna Expressway in Mathura as agitating farmers have blocked the road, reports ANI.

11.54 am: Farmers in Sirsa jump barricades in their attempt to march to Delhi, reports ANI.

11.49 am: There is heavy police deployment at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana, as unrelenting farmers continue their journey towards the Capital, demanding that the central government abolish new farms laws. The police have, for the second day, resorted to releasing tear gas on the protestors. Many of them have also been detained.

Credit: Anushree Fadnavis/ Reuters
Credit: Anushree Fadnavis/ Reuters

11.46 am: Over 400 organisations under the Samyukta Kisan Morcha banner have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to provide them a safe passage to Delhi and protest peacefully, reports The Wire. The leaders urge the prime minister to “stop its confrontationist attitude” and let them peacefully put forth their demands to the government.

11.38 am: The police have begun firing tear gas shells at farmers near the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana.

11.31 am: Aam Aadmi Party legislator Raghav Chadha appeals to the Delhi government to deny permission to set up temporary prisons in the city, saying the farmer of the country is “neither a criminal nor a terrorist”.

Chadha asserts that the right to protest peacefully is guaranteed by the Constitution of India and is the hallmark of a free, democratic society.

11.29 am: Groups of farmers from Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka have also been stopped at several points along the Uttar Pradesh border with Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, and are holding road blockade protests there, reports The Hindu.

11.16 am: Farmers at the Tikri border use a tractor to remove a truck placed by the police in the middle of the road to obstruct them, ANI reports.

11.06 am: The use of water cannons, splashed across a maze of barricades and freshly dug up ditches, continued late on Thursday in Sonipat, Haryana, as the police tried to disperse the farmers who were camping there overnight.

11.06 am: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh criticises the Narendra Modi-led government for taking extraordinary measures like digging ditches on national highways just to stop the protesting farmers from reaching Delhi.

11.00 am: The Delhi Police have sought permission from the Aam Aadmi Party government to use nine stadiums in the city as temporary jails to detain the farmers who are marching into the city, according to several media reports. There has been no official confirmation on the matter so far.

10.57 am: Ambala’s superintendent of police tells ANI that the police have increased security by setting up more barricades at the Shambhu border between Haryana and Punjab.

10.52 am: The Delhi Police has taken Punjab legislators Parminder Dhindsa and Sukhpal Khera into preventive custody, reports News18.

10.48 am: Congress leader Randeep Surjewala reaches Panipat, Haryana, to join the protests. He says the Congress is committed to putting an end to the “black laws” passed by the central government.

10.46 am: Farmers gathered near the Delhi-Haryana border face another round of tear gas shelling and batons, as they try to march past a maze of obstacles and hundreds of police personnel to express their anger against the farm laws.

10.41 am: The police of Haryana and Delhi has taken extraordinary measures to stop the protesting farmers from reaching the Capital. Several portions of the National Highway were dug up to create deep trenches in the middle of the road, so that farmers are unable to pass to the other side. At some places, the earth from the trench has been piled into towering mounds to obstruct the protestors from reaching the barricades, according to NDTV.

10.22 am: Protests erupt in Rohtak after a 40- year-old farmer died in a road accident, reports the Hindustan Times. A spokesperson of Bhiwani police says the incident took place around 5.30 am when the farmers were marching towards Delhi, to protest against three farm laws.

“When they reached near Mundhal, a speeding truck hit their tractor-trolley,” the spokesperson adds. “One farmer was killed on the spot while two others were injured. The injured have been sent to a hospital.”

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda) alleges that the mishap occurred due to the hurdles set by the Haryana government to stop the march, according to The Indian Express.The protesting farmers are now demanding Rs 20 lakh compensation from the Haryana government for the farmer’s family.

10.13 am: Here are the latest traffic advisories for Delhiites.

10.08 am: A group of farmers at the Singhu border in Haryana request the Delhi Police personnel to let them through, as protests continue for the second day against the central farm laws. “We just want to put forward our point peacefully,” a farmer tells India Today.

7.55 am: Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Narendra Tomar appeal for calm, reports the Hindustan Times. Both say they are ready to discuss all outstanding issues with the protestors.

7.49 am: “It is expected that more than 50,000 farmers will be standing at the Delhi border by today [Thursday] evening,” Samyukt Kisan Morcha and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee said on Thursday. “The numbers are expected to swell through the night as thousands of tractors and trolleys are carrying farmers, women and children from interior areas of Punjab.”

7.46 am: Farmers participating in the “Delhi Chalo” march stayed overnight at the toll plaza at Panipat Highway, reports ANI.

7.30 am: Haryana Police chief Manoj Yadava on Thursday claimed that the farmers protesting against the new farm bills attacked officers first, who acted with “great restraint”, reports NDTV.

The new farming laws

The three ordinances – Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Assurance and Farm Service Ordinance 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 – were passed in September. They were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27.

Weeks later, protests against the laws continue to be staged in many parts of the country. Taken together, the three legislations loosen regulations on the sale, pricing and storage of agricultural produce. They allow farmers to sell outside mandis notified by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee. They enable contract farming through deals with private sector companies. They take food items like cereals and pulses off the list of essential commodities, lifting stock limits on such produce.

The government claims the new laws would give farmers the freedom to sell in the open market. But farmers disagree. They say the laws will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, leave farmers to the mercy of market forces and threaten food security.

The central government has asked farmers, who want the new farm laws to not be implemented, for a second round of negotiations on December 3. The representatives of farmers’ unions from Punjab on November 13 met Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar after being invited for talks.

Here are the updates from Thursday:

  1. The Haryana Police used water cannons and tear gas on farmers gathered at the Delhi-Haryana border near Ambala, as they tried to reach the Capital. Dramatic scenes unfolded at the border as the farmers threw barricades, set up by the police, into a river. They also clashed with the police on a bridge.
  2. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the Haryana government’s use of force on farmers protesting peacefully was a “sad irony” on Constitution Day. He said that the farmers had been peacefully protesting in his state for two months without any trouble.
  3. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal condemned the Haryana government for trying to stop protesting farmers from reaching Delhi, terming the attempt as “Punjab’s 26/11”.
  4. Opposition leaders strongly criticised the use of water cannons and tear gas on farmers marching to Delhi to protest against the Centre’s agriculture laws. 
  5. Delhi Metro services from the National Capital Region were suspended on Friday due to the farmers protest march against the Centre’s new farm laws. However, officials said metro services would be available from Delhi towards the NCR sections.