As protests by farmers against three newly passed laws entered its second day, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday asked them to put off their agitation and promised talks on December 3.
“The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers,” Tomar said, speaking to ANI. “We have invited farmers’ organisations for another round of talks on December 3. I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of Covid-19 and the winters.”
Earlier on Friday, Tomar had said that the new laws were the “need of the hour” and they would bring about “revolutionary changes” in the lives of farmers. He had also invited farmers for talks to dispel doubts about the laws.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police on Friday gave farmers the permission to enter the Capital and hold “peaceful protests” in the Nirankari Ground in Burari area of the city. Earlier, the Arvind Kejriwal government denied permission to allow the police to convert nine city stadiums as temporary jails to detain protesting farmers. The Delhi Police, which is under the ambit of the central government, had sought permission from the Aam Aadmi Party government for the decision.
Dozens of farmers’ leaders have been detained since Thursday. The authorities have taken extraordinary measures to set up blockades on highways, parking buses, trucks and other large vehicles. At some places, they even dug up trenches to obstruct farmers, many of whom camped on highways for the night in biting cold.
The police, on Thursday as well as Friday, used water cannons and tear gas on farmers gathered at Delhi-Haryana border near Ambala. 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.
The farmers are protesting against 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 – that were passed in September. They were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27.