The Bhartiya Kisan Union on Monday refused to move its protest from the Uttar Pradesh Gate border in Ghaziabad till the farmers’ demands were met. The group, which is participating the massive protest against the Centre’s three farm laws, claimed to have enough ration to last till Republic Day.
Leaders of other farmers organisation also remained unrelenting and said they would not go back until the Centre meets their demand of abolishing the new agricultural laws, which they fear would reduce their earnings and give more power to corporations. “We have come to Delhi for a decisive battle,” the farmers said.
The declaration came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again reached out to the farmers, and assured them the new laws would empower them by providing options for a bigger market. Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for the second time in less than 24 hours, as protestors remained put near Delhi’s borders for the fifth day.
The deadlock intensified on Sunday after the farmers rejected the government’s condition offer to hold talks, provided they shift to Burari area of Delhi. They called the place an “open jail”, and demanded to go to Jantar Mantar, near the Parliament.
Farmers and traders have alleged that the government wants to discontinue the minimum support price regime in the name of reforms. The government has maintained that farm laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
Read today’s top updates
10.50 pm: Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy asks the Centre to initiate immediate talks with the protesting farmers.
“The Centre, which has stated that such laws have been brought in to help farmers, should immediately hold talks with protesters and make efforts to remove their suspicions,” the Janata Dal (Secular) leader tweeted. “Otherwise, the suspicion among farmers and people will continue to grow further.”
Kumaraswamy also asks the government to stop asking the farmers to shift to a designated spot in North Delhi. “The Centre has appealed to protesting farmers to move to Burari Park if they want it to hear their problems,” he says. “But farmers have not accepted this as they view it as a precondition to initiate talks. Hence it is better to withdraw such a condition.”
He suggests that the Centre should hear grievances of farmers at the place where they are presently located or at a place of their choice.
10.47 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the farmers protests against the new laws is justified and asks the Centre why it was not listening to them, reports PTI. Singh added that his government would stand firmly with the farmers in their fight against the “black laws”.
“It is the job of the government to listen to its people,” said the chief minister during his visit to Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak. “If farmers are joining the agitation from so many states, then they must be really upset.”
8.47 pm: Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Uttar Pradesh Secretary Harendra Nehra says the farmers will not leave the UP Gate border, PTI reports. “We will not go for a dialogue at the Sant Nirankari ground in Burari in Delhi,” Nehra adds. “We will talk with the government on our own conditions at the Ramlila ground in the national capital.”
The union’s National President Naresh Tikait, meanwhile, says that they have enough rations to continue till the next Republic Day.
8.40 pm: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar says the Centre must allay farmers’ concern that the new agriculture laws will discard the minimum support price , PTI reports.
“The Centre has proposed to hold talks with the agitating farmers,” he says. “Once they sit across the table, it will become clear that fears over MSP are unfounded.”
Kumar speaks of his own experience of abolishing agricultural produce market committee mandis in 2006. “As you all know, we had abolished these [APMC mandis] way back in 2006 and introduced a system for procurement through PACS [primary agriculture credit societies],” he says. “Procurement in Bihar in fact picked up only after that.”
8.37 pm: Five Left parties, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist), ask their state units to organise protests in support for the farmers.
8.34 pm: Former Haryana Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda demands that the cases registered against the farmers be withdrawn. “If the BJP-JJP government does not take back the cases filed against the farmers, then all the cases will be dismissed as soon as our government is formed,” he says.
7.18 pm: Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava says there is adequate police deployment in Delhi, in view of the farmers protests, reports ANI. “We are ready to face any situation,” he adds.
6.52 pm: Gurnam Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Haryana) says that the new agricultural laws have been made “by the corporates and for the corporates”, reports ANI. “The Constitution provides for rule of the people, by the people, and for the people, but now it has become rule of the corporates, by the corporates and for the corporates,” he says. “Laws are being made for corporates, and people are being exploited.”
5.48 pm: The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, which is a part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, says it might have to reconsider its ties with the NDA, if the government does not take prompt action in the interests of farmers.
“Mr Amit Shah, in view of the countrywide sentiment in support of the ongoing farmers’ movement, the recently introduced three bills related to agriculture should be immediately withdrawn,” RLP chief Hanuman Beniwal tweets. “..The power of RLP is farmers and jawans, so if prompt action is not taken in this matter, then I will have to rethink the issue of being a partner of NDA in the interest of farmers!”
5.26 pm: Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bharti Kisan Union (Dakaunda), says that they have been unable to hold a meeting with farmers organisations from all states till now, reports ANI. “We could only have it [discussions] with 30 organisations from Punjab, he adds. “We rejected the conditional invitation of Modij [Prime Minister Narendra Modi].”
5.23 pm: Leaders of farmers unions are addressing a press conference near the Singhu border right now, where they say they would continue their agitation until all their demands are met, reports PTI. “We have come to Delhi for a decisive battle,” says farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni. He adds that the government has so far registered 31 cases against farmers in a bid to suppress them.
4.31 pm: The new farm laws have been introduced for the benefit of farmers, says Modi. “We will see and experience benefits of these new laws in the coming days,” he adds, according to ANI.
4.29 pm: Modi says the promise of providing 1.5 times more Minimum Support Price to farmers under the Swaminathan Commission was fulfilled. “This promise was not only fulfilled on paper, but has reached bank accounts of the farmers,” he says.
4.28 pm: The prime minister says that new agricultural reforms have given farmers new options and legal protection, reports ANI. “Earlier, loan waiver packages used to be announced but the benefits of such schemes never used to reach the farmers,” he adds.
4.24 pm: Modi says: “With establishing of a perishable cargo center in Varanasi, now farmers here have got a facility to store and sell their produce easily. Due to this storage capacity, for the first time, the produce of farmers here is being exported in large quantities.”
4.08 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says farmers are being empowered by providing them with options for a bigger market, according to ANI. “Reforms are being done in the interest of farmers, which will give them more options,” he adds, while inaugurating a six-lane widening project in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi city. “Shouldn’t a farmer get freedom to sell his produce directly to those who give them better prices and facilities.”
3.28 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urges people of the national Capital to extend all possible help to the agitating farmers.
3.24 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Manch President Buta Singh says Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured of talks without any condition, reports CNN-News18.
Singh says a letter from the government is expected by evening, following which a decision will be taken.
1.56 pm: Both the border entry points at Singhu and Tikri are closed as farmers refuse to move the government-designated protest site in Delhi, reports The Indian Express.
1.50 pm: Farmers protesting at the borders are singing riveting anthems amid the chaos, reports The Indian Express. “Come on farmer...make all arrangements for marching...it is a direct confrontation with the Centre,” says one song.
1.42 pm: Amit Malviya, the head of the BJP’s IT cell, accuses the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi of first notifying the Centre’s farm laws and then stepping in to “burn down Delhi”.
“Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government has already notified the new farm laws on November 23, 2020, and had started implementing them,” Malviya claims in a tweet. “But now that the Khalistanis and Maoists have stepped in to oppose, he sees an opportunity to burn down Delhi. It was never about farmers. Just politics...”
1.37 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra urges people of India to raise their voice to support the farmers protesting against the Centre’s agricultural laws. “How can farm laws be formulated with consulting the farmers,” she asks on Twitter.
1.22 pm: Visuals of traffic congestion at Delhi-Haryana border. The Delhi Traffic Police has appealed to the commuters to take alternate routes as key roads near borders with neighbouring Haryana remain closed.
12.55 pm: Another meeting between Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s at the latter’s residence to discuss the farmers protest has ended, reports News18.
12.42 pm: A 55-year-old farmer from Punjab’s Ludhiana has died of a heart attack along the Delhi border, reports The Indian Express. The Punjab and Haryana farmers’ unions held an internal consultation and decided on Sunday they would stay put at the Singhu and Tikri border crossing points, refusing to accept Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s demands.
12.30 pm: Shiv Sena castigates the Narendra Modi for using water cannons on protesting farmers, reports PTI.
“Our farmers are being treated as terrorists and attacked on Delhi borders while terrorists are killing our soldiers on the border in Kashmir,” says an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana. “The government is using all its might to crush political opponents but why is this determination not seen while dealing with the country’s enemies.”
11.41 am: A medical check-up camp is set up at Singhu border, where farmers are camping to protest against the agricultural laws. “We should conduct Covid-19 test here,” a doctor tells ANI. “If there’s any possibility of a super spreader, the disease might spread to other people which will be disastrous.”
11.35 am: The Delhi Police have put up concrete barriers at Ghazipur and Delhi-Ghaziabad border after farmers threatened that they will block five points of entry into the national Capital – Sonipat, Rohtak, Jaipur, Ghazipur-Hapur and Mathura – over the next few days, the Hindustan Times reports. A police officer tells the newspaper that cement jersey barriers have been placed at Ghazipur border to stop farmers’ from entering in with vehicles.
9.09 am: The chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana continue to spar over the farmers’ agitation. After Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said the Punjab government will be fully responsible if there is a catastrophic situation due to the large gatherings amid the coronavirus crisis, his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh retorted saying Khattar should have allowed them to move quickly through to Delhi instead of stopping them in his state.
9.05 am: The Delhi Traffic Police inform that the Singhu broder is closed due to the farmers’ protest against the agriculture laws. “Please take alternate route,” the tweet adds. “Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba Chowk and GTK road. Traffic is very very heavy. Please avoid outer ring road from signature bridge to Rohini and vice versa, GTK road, NH 44 and Singhu borders.”
8.08 am: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot says the Narendra Modi government should reconsider the three farm laws, reports the Hindustan Times.
“In these difficult times, the Annadata [providers] are making positive contributions to the economy and they should not be given such a reward,” Gehlot says in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The farmers have irrigated the land of the country with their blood and sweat. The central government should immediately resolve their problems by listening to their demands.”
8 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asks the Centre to immediately and unconditionally hold talks with farmers, reports PTI.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh also says that Home Minister Amit Shah should first resolve the matter by listening to farmers’ demands. “We welcome the farmers to Delhi, we will fight shoulder to shoulder with them,” says Singh.
7.57 am: The Bharaitya Janata Party, which has been facing intense pressure from farmers’ organisations, on Sunday night convened a meeting to resolve the deadlock, reports the Hindustan Times. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Defence Minister Rajnath Rajnath Singh attended the meeting.
7.55 am: Visuals of farmers gathered at the Delhi-Haryana border for the fifth consecutive day.
7.50 am: Here is a quick update from Sunday on the farmers protest against the Centre’s three agricultural laws:
- The farmers have been protesting since Thursday in and around the Capital against the laws, which they fear will reduce their earnings and give more power to corporations. The protestors – who braved tear gas, water cannons and baton charges on their way – say they would not return to their homes until their demands were met.
- Punjab farmers’ unions rejected Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s offer to relocate themselves to a government-designated area in Burari area of Delhi, saying they would press on with their protest against the new agricultural legislations near the city’s borders. They say they want to protest at the Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi, which is situated nearly 20 kms away from Burari.
- At a press conference on Sunday evening, Punjab President of Bhartiya Kisan Union Krantikari Sarjeet Singh Phul said that the farmers have decided to block five main entry points to Delhi until the central government accepts their demand to abolish the new agricultural laws. They also called Burari protest site an “open jail”.
- They listed out new demands and said that the minimum support price and the rate of buying crops should be guaranteed. Besides, the electricity ordinance be stopped, they said, adding that the fine for stubble burning should also be scrapped. It was also decided that none of the political parties will be allowed to join the protests as a speaker.