The Centre has called for another round of talks with protesting farmers on December 3, after the meeting held between government officials and over 30 union leaders on Tuesday failed to break the impasse.
At the meeting, which was attended by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, the government offered to set up a committee to look into the issues raised by farmers about the new agricultural laws. But the farmers refused and remained adamant on their demand that the government should abolish the legislations.
Meanwhile, the police detained Shaheen Bagh activist Bilkis “Dadi” from Singhu border after she joined the agitation. Earlier, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad also joined the protest at the Ghazipur-Ghaziabad border.
Farmers from neighbouring states, mostly Punjab and Haryana, have been demonstrating for six days. They allege 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
10.55 pm: Farmers in Madhya Pradesh say they will march towards Delhi on Wednesday to join the ongoing agitations against the new farm laws, reports ANI.
9.32 pm: The Centre says it has asked the representatives of farmers unions to identify the specific issues related to Farm Reform Acts and share them with the government by December 2, Wednesday. “These issues will be discussed during the fourth round of meeting to be held on 03.12.2020,” a press release states.
9.30 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union President Naresh Tikait says they would submit a draft of the issues related to the farm laws with the government by Wednesday, reports ANI. “The government has started a conversation with Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Delhi farmers,” he adds. “So, till the next meeting on December 3rd, the government has time to brainstorm over the issues raised by all.”
9.27 pm: Tomar says the government’s talks with the farmers leaders was meaningful, reports ANI. “We also had a discussion with leaders of Tikait Kisan Union over the laws and other agriculture issues,” he adds. “We’ve told them that they should give their issues in writing to us and we’ll discuss it.”
9.23 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal hold another round of talks with farmers leaders from Haryana Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
7.00 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar appeals to the farmers to end their agitation and come for talks, reports ANI. “However, the decision depends on the farmers and their unions,” he adds.
6.58 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) President Joginder Singh Ugrahan tells PTI that the meeting between the central government officials and the protesting farmer unions remained inconclusive.
6.55 pm: Chanda Singh, a farmers leader who was part of the delegation that met the Centre, says their agitation against the new agricultural laws will continue, ANI reports. “We will definitely take back something from the government, be it bullets or a peaceful solution,” he adds.
6.53 pm: The meeting between central government officials and farmers leaders concludes, reports ANI. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar says that another round of talks will be held between the two sides on December 3. “We wanted a small group to be constituted but farmers’ leaders wanted that the talks should be held with everyone, we do not have problem with it,” Singh says.
6.33 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) member Roopsingh Sinha tells PTI that the farmers unions’ have rejected the government’s proposal to form a five-member committee to look into the issues related to the new farm laws. There is, however, no official confirmation so far.
6.29 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson RP Singh deplores Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks on the ongoing protests, reports Times Now. “Farmers have all the rights to protest, but who gives the right to the Canadian prime minister to interfere in the internal matters of another country,” he tells the channel.
Trudeau has spoken in favour of the farmers’ protest in Delhi against the Centre’s farm laws, saying that his country will always defend the rights of peaceful protestors.
6.22 pm: Union minister VK Singh claims that a lot of the people photographed at the ongoing protests do no “appear” to be farmers, reports ANI. “What is in the interest of farmers has been done,” he says, referring to the agricultural laws. “It’s not the farmers who have a problem with this [the new legislations], but [it is] others.”
6.14 pm: The government offers to set up a committee to look into the issues raised by farmers protesting against the new farm laws at the meeting between union ministers and representatives of 35 agitating organisations, reports PTI.
6.13 pm: The Chilla border, falling between the Delhi-Noida Link Road has been closed, as the farmers protests intensify, reports ANI.
5 pm: Government gives a detailed presentation to the farmer leaders on Minimum Support Price and Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act in a meeting at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan, reports ANI.
4.45 pm: Jannayak Janta Party leader Ajay Chautala questions government on not mentioning the guarantee of Minimum Support Price in the new laws, reports ANI.
“Government leaders are giving statements that they will continue Minimum Support Price,” says Chautala. “What is the problem in incorporating this in the bill?”
4.42 pm: Police detains Shaheen Bagh activist Bilkis “Dadi” after she reached Singhu border to join farmers’ protest, reports ANI.
4.40 pm: Naresh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kiasan Union says the government will meet delegations from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Delhi at 7 pm, after their ongoing meeting with delegates from Punjab, reports ANI
4.38 pm: Delhi Cabinet Minister Kailash Gehlot says farmers’ demands are genuine and the Centre should accept all of them, reports ANI.
3.30 pm: Leaders of farmers unions reach Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan to hold talks with the Centre, ANI reports. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar also arrives at the venue.
3.02 pm: Family of 55-year old farmer Gajjan Singh blames Haryana government following his death at the agitation at Tikri border, reports The Indian Express. Singh’s family says he fell ill after getting repeatedly wet during the clampdown on the farmers by Haryana government using water cannons.
3 pm: All India Taxi Union threatens to go on strike if the demands of the farmers are not met in two days, reports India Today.
2.55 pm: Independent MLA from Haryana’s Dadri, Sombir Sangwan, withdraws support from Manohar Lal Khattar government, reports The Indian Express.
2.53 pm: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad joins farmers’ protest at Ghazipur-Ghaziabad border, reports ANI.
1.47 pm: “The government has invited us without preconditions and we’re going for the talks,” Jagjit Singh Dallewal of the Bharatiya Kisan Union says, according to NDTV. “About 35 representatives will go, and we will demand the laws be repealed. We will also demand law on MSP [minimum supprt price]. If the government doesn’t agree, the protests will continue.”
1.45 pm: Thirty-six farmers’ unions will attend a meeting with the Centre at 3 pm in Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan to discuss the agricultural laws, reports The Indian Express. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will initiate the first round of talks.
12.55 pm: RS Mansa, president of Punjab Kisan Union, tells ANI that he will attend the meeting called by the Centre at 3 pm over farm laws. However, Punjab-based farmers’ body Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee refuses to participate in the discussion, saying that representatives of all farmer unions should be invited, reports PTI.
12.46 pm: Reports say that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has cancelled his visit to the Border Raising Day event ahead of scheduled talks with farmers.
12.35 pm: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country will always defend rights of peaceful protestors. At an online event to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Trudeau supports farmers protesting in India against the agriculture laws, stating that the situation is “concerning”.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognising the news coming from India about the protest by farmers,” says Trudeau in a video shared online. “The situation is concerning. We are all very worried about family and friends. We know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protesters. We believe in the process of dialogue. We’ve reached out through multiple means to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns. This is a moment for all of us to pull together.”
12.27 pm: According to NDTV, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will lead the discussion today with the farmers protesting in and around Delhi since last week.
12.25 pm: Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Hassan says the Narendra Modi government should listen to the demands of the farmers protesting against the Centre’s new agriculture laws, reports ANI.
11.28 am: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrives at the residence of Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda to hold a meeting over the farmers protest, reports ANI.
11.23 am: Social activist Medha Patkar urges citizens to lend support to the farmers protest. In a video message, the activist cites various organisations and people who are protesting against the farm laws and asks citizens to support the agitations by organising demonstrations, signature campaigns or marching to Delhi.
11.20 am: Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar arrive at the residence of Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda to hold a meeting over the farmers protest, reports ANI.
11.15 am: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urges the Centre to listen to the protesting farmers. “It is time to stand with our farmers,” he says in a tweet. “We urge the Government of India to listen to the protesting farmers and resolve the issue in an amicable manner. The whole of our country needs to come together on this; because farmers are the lifeblood of this country.”
11.08 am: Protesting farmers use a tractor to remove barricades at the Ghazipur-Ghaziabad border, reports ANI.
10.05 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweets in support of the farmers, urging the government to give the farmers their rights.
“We all owe our lives to the hard work of these farmers,” he says. “This debt can be repaid only we fight and get them the justice they demand, not by beating them up or by using tear gas on them.”
9.59 am: The Delhi Traffic Police says Tiki border is closed for traffic. It adds that Jharoda, Dhansa, Daurala Jhatikera, Badusari, Kapashera, Rajokri NH 8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera borders are open for travel to Haryana.
9.56 am: Joint Secretary of Punjab Kisan Sangarsh Committee in Delhi Sukhvinder S Sabhran claims that the Centre only invited 32 farmers’ groups for talks when there are more than 500 such groups in the country, reports ANI. He adds that they would not attend the talks till the groups are called.
9.52 am: Protesting farmers shouted slogans of “Kisan ekta zinadabad [long live farmers union]” and showed black flags to Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Monday.
9.47 am: Hundreds of activists belonging to the Students Federation of India, a Left wing students union, took out a rally in Kolkata on Monday in support of the protesting farmers, reports PTI.
“The Narendra Modi government has opened the farm sector to big corporates which pushed small and marginal farmers faced with extreme financial stress,” said state committee leader Subhajit Sarkar. “Our fight is to protect the interest of small and marginal farmers who are the backbone of India.”
9.44 am: The All India Taxi Union threatens to go on strike if the demands of the farmers are not met, reports PTI.
“We request the prime minister, home minister and agriculture minister to revoke these laws [farming legislature],” says Balwant Singh Bhullar, the president of the union, “The corporate sector is destroying us. If government does not take these laws back in two days, then we will remove our vehicles from the roads. We request all drivers across India to stop their vehicles from December 3.”
7.30 am: The Delhi Traffic Police advises commuters to take alternate routes as the Singhu border remains closed from both sides due to the farmers protest against the agriculture laws.
7.20 am: Late on Monday, the Centre announced that it has invited farmers for talks on Tuesday, reports The Indian Express. This is two days ahead of the scheduled date and came as the farmers rejected the previous invitation for conditional early talks.
The Ministry of Agriculture said in a press release that Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar’s meeting with farmers is advanced due to the coronavirus and the cold. The farmers have been invited to Vigyan Bhavan at 3 pm for talks.
Jagmohan Singh, state general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakunda) says they have received the invitation for talks and will “positively consider” it. He says there is an emergency meeting of 30 farmers’ unions from Punjab at 8 am on Tuesday and final decision will be taken then.
7.10 am: A quick update of the developments from Monday:
- The farmers’ protest entered its fifth day and they urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their “mann ki baat”. They continued to insist on withdrawal of the farm laws.
- Modi, however, accused the Opposition of spreading rumours and creating doubts in the minds of farmers about the benefits of the new agriculture laws. At a public event in Varanasi, the prime minister, while inaugurating a six-lane widening project, alleged that the Opposition had a penchant for questioning every policy of the government, and spreading falsehood about its intentions.
- Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, which is part of the National Democratic Alliance and an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Rajasthan, threatened to quit the alliance if the Centre did not withdraw the three new farm laws.
- Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the central government must allay fears of the farmers and make it clear that the new agricultural laws would not dismantle the minimum support price mechanism, under which the Centre buys their produce.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Information Technology Cell head Amit Malviya alleged that the ongoing farmers’ protests have “Khalistani and Maoist” links. He, however, did not provide any evidence to support his claim.