Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday attacked his Punjab and Haryana counterparts, saying that Arvind Kejriwal is in the habit of lying to farmers and Manohar Lal Khattar thrashing them.
Meanwhile, farmer leaders on Friday called for a “Bharat Bandh” on December 8 to protest against the three new farm laws.
Earlier in the day, petition was filed before the Supreme Court on Friday seeking directions for the immediate removal of agitating farmers from border areas of Delhi-NCR. The plea said the agitating farmers may pose a risk in spreading coronavirus.
Key border crossings around the Capital, like the Singhu near Delhi and Haryana, Tikri and Ghazipur remained closed for movement of traffic.
Talks between farmers and the Centre on Thursday again failed to break the impasse. Another round of talks is scheduled to take place on December 5. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar again assured the farmers that the Minimum Support Price regime will not be be done away with under the new laws. Meanwhile, representatives of the farmers remained adamant on their demand of repealing the three laws.
8.57 pm: Security personnel continue to guard Tikri border (Delhi-Haryana border) as farmers’ protest against the centre’s farm laws continues in its ninth day, reports ANI.
8.55 pm: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says the new farm laws were brought in after elaborate stakeholder consultations and a lot of homework, reports PTI.
8.52 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh attacks his Punjab and Haryana counterparts, saying that Arvind Kejriwal is in the habit of lying to farmers and Manohar Lal Khattar thrashing them, reported NDTV.
Singh referred to the Kejriwal government notifying one of the three new agriculture laws and the use of force against the agitating farmers by Haryana police.
6.50 pm: Union Agricultural Minister NS Tomar says the government is considering the farmers’ demands, according to News18. “My request to all political parties is not to politicise the whole movement,” he adds.
6.45 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazagham President MK Stalin says his party will hold a black flag protest against the three farm laws tomorrow, reports News18.
5.58 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Lakhowal) General Secretary HS Lakhowal says they will burn effigies of PM Narendra Modi on December 5.
5.53 pm: Farmer leader Harvinder Singh Ladkhwal says they have decided to give a call for “Bharat Bandh” on December 8, reports PTI.
4.37 pm: The Editors Guild of India issues an advisory to media house on the coverage of the ongoing farmers’ protests. It asks the media to refrain from using terms like “Khalistani” and “anti-national”.
4.34 pm: Former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader BS Hooda lashes out at the state dispensation over its handling of the farm law protests.
4.33 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait says they are hoping that the government will fulfill their demands. “The government and the farmers did not reach any decision during the meeting held on Thursday,” he tells PTI. “The government wants to make amendments to the three laws, but we want the laws to be completely repealed. If the government does not agree to our demands, we will continue to protest. We are looking to find out what happens in Saturday’s meeting.”
4.30 pm: A petition is filed before the Supreme Court seeking directions for immediate removal of agitating farmers from border areas of Delhi-NCR, reports ANI. The plea says the agitating farmers may pose a risk in spreading coronavirus.
3.03 pm: After Mehbooba Mufti, the Shiv Sena also says the farmers from Punjab have “brought the Narendra Modi government to its knees”, adding that the world has taken note of the unity they have displayed during the protests against the agricultural laws, reports PTI.
“Despite the winter chill, the farmers from Punjab have made the Modi government sweat,” the Shiv Sena said in an editorial published in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana. “The protesters seem to be getting aggressive. The Modi government had not faced this kind of a challenge earlier. The government’s usual weapons of CBI, Income Tax, ED and NCB are of no use in this case. The farmers have brought the government to its knees.”
2.22 pm: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot says that he along with the chief ministers of the remaining three Congress-ruled states wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking time to meet him to convey the concerns of farmers but he could not meet them due to some compulsions.
In a series of tweets, Gehlot accuses the Centre of not holding discussions on the farming legislation. “The government did not listen to the farmers and that is why they are protesting today across the country,” he tweets. “If the government continued the practise of holding discussions as a democracy, this road block would not have happened, people would not have been distressed.”
2.15 pm: Novelist Dr Jaswinder Singh returns his Bhartiya Sahitya Akademi Award in support of the farm laws protest, reports ANI. Singh asks what is the point of writing if a writer cannot present people’s voices. “I didn’t start writing for awards,” the novelist adds. “It is disheartening to see [the] Centre dealing mercilessly with farmers & violating basic human rights.”
2.12 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien meets farmers gathered at the Singhu border, reports ANI.
2.05 pm: Ministry of External Affairs summons Canadian High Commissioner and informs him that the comments made by their Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some ministers and MPs of the country on farm law protests “constitute an unacceptable interference” in India’s internal affairs. “Such actions, if continued, would have a seriously damaging impact on ties between India and Canada,” a statement by the ministry says.
Trudeau and a few Canadian MPs had spoken in support of the farmers’ protest in Delhi. Trudeau had said that his country will always defend the rights of peaceful protestors.
12.44 pm: The Samajwadi Party says it will begin “Kisan Yatras” or farmers’ marches across Uttar Pradesh from Monday to oppose the farm laws, Hindustan Times reports.
12.40 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain will visit the Singhu border at 1pm to check the arrangements made for the protesting farmers, News18 reports.
12.34 pm: Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti says the famers’ protest has brought the government to its knees and that the BJP is scared of the power of the people. “Its why a reign of repression has been unleashed in J&K [Jammu and Kashmir] since [the] Illegal abrogation of Article 370,” she adds. “Not allowing any peaceful medium for dissent shows their nervousness and failure on all fronts.”
11.12 am: The farmers prepare food at Singhu border.
11.04 am: Factory owners in Noida fear that they may run out of raw materials due to blockades on key roads, The Times of India reports
10.56 am: The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee sends a legal notice to actor Kangana Ranaut for her derogatory tweets against farmers. They demand an apology from her.
8.40 am: What are the three farm laws?
The Parliament had passed 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 – in September. They were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27.
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.
Farmers and traders have alleged that the government wants to discontinue the minimum support price regime in the name of reforms. They fear that the laws will leave them at the mercy of corporate powers. The government has maintained that farm laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
The government claims the new laws would give farmers the freedom to sell in the open market. But farmers 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.
Most Opposition parties and farmers’ organisations across the country have strongly opposed the bills. The Shiromani Akali Dal, one of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s oldest allies, pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance in protest against these bills.
8.30 am: The Delhi Traffic Police say Tikri and Jharoda Borders are closed for traffic. Singhu, Lampur, Auchandi, Safiabad, Piao Maniyari, Saboli and Ghazipur border on National Highway 24 is also closed.
8.25 am: Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal says that instead of “standing on its ego”, the Centre should listen to the farmers, NDTV reports. “What’s wrong in giving the people what they are asking for?” she asks.
8.20 am: Jannayak Janta Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s coalition partner in Haryana, demanded that the cases registered against protesting farmers in the state be withdrawn, according to PTI.
8.15 am: Here is a wrap of the events on Thursday:
- The new round of talks between the Centre and representatives of farmers’ union on Thursday concluded in yet another stalemate. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar again assured farmers that the Minimum Support Price regime will continue under the new laws. Meanwhile, representatives of the farmers remained adamant on their demand of repealing the three laws, even as they expressed hope that the talks would be concluded on Saturday.
- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged both the Centre and the farmers to resolve the standoff over the agricultural laws, saying that it was a matter of national security. He met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence in Delhi.
- Former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India, on Thursday to protest the “betrayal of farmers” by the Narendra Modi government. A group of sportspersons from Punjab have also said they will return their awards.
- The Congress demanded a special Parliament session on Thursday, a day after the protesting farmers made a similar proposal. In a letter to Speaker Om Birla, Congress’ Leader of Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked for a short winter session. Apart from the farmers’ agitation, he also mentioned the coronavirus situation, economic slowdown, unemployment and the border standoff with China in his letter.
- West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatened to launch a nationwide agitation if the “anti-farmer” laws are not withdrawn by the government. “I am very much concerned about the farmers, their lives and livelihood,” she tweeted. “The GOI [government of India] must withdraw the anti-farmer bills.”