Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar on Monday said that the state government will challenge the controversial farm laws in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, farmers’ protesting against the legislations at Delhi’s Singhu border said that the Bharat Bandh will be peaceful. They also said that no shops and establishments will be forcibly closed.
The protests against the farm laws entered the 12th day as tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, camped out at the entrance to Delhi, demanding the government should abolish the new legislations. As many as seven borders connecting Delhi with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh remained completely closed on Monday.
The Centre, which claims the laws would revitalise India’s agrarian economy by boosting produce, has made several attempts to placate the farmers. But five rounds of talks have failed to break the impasse so far. The agitation continued and another round of negotiations is scheduled for December 9.
Here are the day’s top updates
11.02 pm: Minister of State (Home) G Kishan Reddy attacks people returning their awards in protest against the agriculture laws, reports ANI.
“No award has been returned earlier and none are going to be,” says Reddy. “These are only for a day’s advertisement. I want to ask those returning awards about what is against farmers in the farm laws. Have they read the laws?”
8.08 pm: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has said that it will not support Tuesday’s Bharat Bandh against the Centre’s new farm laws, but would like the legislations to go through some “improvements”, reports PTI.
8.02 pm: The Kerala government will challenge the controversial farm laws in the Supreme Court, reports ANI, citing state Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar.
“We will move Supreme Court this week itself,” Kumar says. “The anti-farmer laws will not be implemented in Kerala and an alternative law will be considered.”
8 pm: Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi and all other markets in the city will remain closed tomorrow to support the Bharat Bandh call given by the protesting farmers, reports ANI.
7.57 pm: The Odisha Congress questions the silence of the state’s ruling Biju Janata Dal about the Bharat Bandh call given by farmer unions, reports PTI.
“The BJD’s silence has exposed its real face,” says state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik. “While regional parties across the country have been supporting the farmers, it is the BJD alone in Odisha which remained silent. The party is anti-farmer and part of the BJP.”
7.55 pm: BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis says that the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and others supporting Tuesday’s Bharat Bandh call are doing so just to oppose the Narendra Modi government, reports PTI. The former Maharashtra chief minister claims that these parties had earlier backed provisions similar to ones in the Centres farm laws.
He also refers to the two letters by former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar in August 2010 and November 2011, saying that the NCP chief at that time spoke about how important private investment is to ensure improvements in commodity markets.
7.47 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath attacks Opposition parties for “politicising” farm laws, alleging that they were using the farmers to serve their political interests, reports PTI.
“During the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, the then agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had sent a letter to different states that APMC [Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee] needs amendment and the government of India is preparing a model act for the purpose,” Adityanath says. “It is an example of their double character and how they are firing from the shoulder of innocent farmers to create anarchy and disorder.”
7.10 pm: The All India Railwaymen’s Federation supports the Bharat Bandh call given by protesting farmers for tomorrow, reports PTI. “We have written to our affiliates all over the Indian Railways to extend support to the farmers in their struggle to achieve their genuine demands,” says Shiva Gopal Mishra, general secretary of AIRF.
6.18 pm: Amid the continuing standoff between farmers’ groups and the Central government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that reforms are needed for development, reports PTI.
“Reforms are very much needed for a new order and to give new facilities,” says the prime minister as he launches the Agra metro rail project. “We cannot build the next century with the laws of the previous century. Some laws that used to be good in the past century have become a burden in the present century. Reforms should be a continuous process.”
6.15 pm: Delhi Agricultural Minister Gopal Rai urges the Centre to accept the demands of the protesting farmers’, reports PTI. The farmers fear the recent agricultural reforms passed by the government will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
“The protesting farmers have been shivering in the cold for the past 11 days,” Rai tells reporters. “The Center should not delay accepting the demands of the farmers and resolve the deadlock on priority basis.”
6.12 pm: Farmer leader Darshan Pal says tomorrow’s Bharat Bandh will be peaceful, adding that no political leaders will be allowed on stage, reports ANI.
6.10 pm: At a press conference, farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal clarifies that emergency services will be allowed tomorrow, reports PTI. “Government will have to accept our demands, we want nothing less than withdrawal of new farm laws,” he adds.
6.06 pm: Protesting farmers’ say that there will be no forcible closure of shops and establishments during the Bharat Bandh tomorrow, reports The Indian Express.
5.35 pm: Fruit growers in Kashmir Valley extend their support to the Bharat Bandh on December 8, reports the Hindustan Times.
“We fully support the strike call given by farmers on Tuesday,” says Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairperson of Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union and president of the New Kashmir Fruit Association.
5.06 pm: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani says his government will taken action against people who try to forcibly close shops and other establishments during the strike, ANI reports.
4.29 pm: The advocates of all district courts of Delhi will stage a peaceful protest on Tuesday to show support for the farmers, ANI reports.
4.27 pm: The Mumbai Police say they will patrol the city during the bandh, ANI reports. “We appeal to the people to maintain peace,” they add.
4.12 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs issues an advisory to the states and Union Territories to tighten security during Tuesday’s Bharat Bandh and ensure the maintenance of peace, PTI reports. The government also urges the states to ensure that the Covid-19 guidelines, like observing physical distance, are strictly followed.
4.07 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says the Opposition parties are politicising the farm laws, PTI reports. He accuses the Congress of indulging in doublespeak.
4.05 pm: Twenty-three farmers’ groups from Gujarat extend support to the Bharat Bandh called by the farmers on Tuesday, PTI reports.
3.53 pm: Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav says he wants the Centre to repeal the farm laws, ANI reports. “They [the Centre] should tell the farmers when will they bring the MSP (Minimum Support Price) that will double the farmers’ income,” he adds.
3.13 pm: Ravi Shankar Prasad alleges that a section of farmers have fallen into the grip of a few people with “vested interests”, reports PTI. He also says that the government is working to address the concerns of protesting farmers.
3.03 pm: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says Opposition parties are opposing the Narendra Modi government just for the sake of it, reports ANI. “In its 2019 poll manifesto, Congress promised to repeal APMC Act and make trade of agriculture produce including export free from all restrictions,” he continues.
Prasad also says that Sharad Pawar, when he was the former agricultural minister, wrote to all the chief ministers for “private sector participation” in market infrastructure.
3 pm: Punjabi writer and poet Surjit Patar says he is “deeply hurt” with the Centre’s behaviour towards the farmers protesting against the agricultural laws, reports ANI.
He also says that he’ll return his Padma Shri award to support the farmers. “Despite making repeated attempts, nothing conclusive done to satisfy them,” says Patar.
2.58 pm: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad attacks Opposition parties for opposing the farm laws, reports ANI. “During UPA [United Progressive Alliance] rule, they did exactly what Modi government is doing today for reforms in the farm sector. Now that they’re losing polls, they take part in any protest for the sake of their existence,” he says.
2.56 pm: Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar urges party leaders and workers to fully support Tuesday’s Bharat Bandh call, reports ANI.
2.55 pm: All operations at Agricultural Produce Market Committee in Vashi and Navi Mumbai will remain closed tomorrow to support the farmer’s call for Bharat Bandh, reports ANI.
2.52 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait says that the farmers’ protest is peaceful and will continue that way, reports ANI. “Tomorrow’s Bharat Bandh is from 11 am to 3 pm,” he adds. “It is a symbolic protest to register our opposition. It is to show that we don’t support some of the policies of the government of India.”
Tikait adds: “We don’t want to cause problems for common man. Therefore, we will begin at 11 am, so that they could leave for office on time. Work hours in offices will end by 3 pm.” He said ambulances and weddings will not be stopped.
2.50 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says the Narendra Modi government must withdraw the farm laws or step down, reports PTI.
1.21 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has been detained by the Uttar Pradesh Police, reports ANI.
12.58 pm: Yadav and his workers are staging a sit-in protest after the police stopped them from participating in a “Kisan Padyatra [farmers’ march]” in Kannauj to express solidarity with the farmers protesting against the Centre’s new agriculture laws.
12.53 pm: Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, who was reportedly stopped from joining a farmers’ demonstration in Kannauj, says he would walk to the sight of the protest as the police have block the party’s vehicles from proceeding, reports ANI. “Our workers have protested at several locations,” he adds. “They can put us in jail if they want.”
12.48 pm: The Shiv Sena says the government would show its “large-heartedness” by agreeing to repeal the contentious agricultural laws, reports PTI. “They [the farmers] are protesting near Delhi with that right,” the party said in an editorial published in its mouthpiece Saamna. “The government, too, has no reason to feel low about withdrawing the farm laws, which they [farmers] find tyrannical. Rather it [withdrawing the laws] will be large-heartedness.”
12.44 pm: As many as seven borders connecting Delhi with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh remained completely closed on Monday due to the ongoing farmers’ protest, causing traffic jam in many parts of the city, reports the Hindustan Times.
The borders that are completely shut are Singhu, Tikri, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari, Mangesh, Jharoda and Chilla. While the first six borders connect Delhi with Haryana, the Chilla border is used by people travelling between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, Greater Noida, Jewar, Mathura, Agra and Lucknow.
12.39 pm: Backing the farmer’s call for Bharat Bandh on December 8, the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana requested all the advocates to abstain from work on Tuesday, reports The Indian Express.
Chairperson of Bar Council Karanjit Singh said that a request letter has also been sent to the Bar Council of India Chairperson, along with the heads of all the state bar councils across India to support the farmers stir.
12.31 pm: Arvind Kejriwal says he met farmers at the Singhu border and ensured they were not facing any troubles. “Farmers who work hard for us and grow food day and night, are fighting for their rights today,” he adds. “In such a situation, it is our duty to support and serve them.”
12.56 pm: Congress lawmakers from Punjab protest outside the Jantar Mantar in Delhi, demanding that a special session of Parliament be convened to withdraw the agricultural laws, reports ANI. Party MP Manish Tewari alleges the Centre is avoiding the session. “It’s against the democracy,” he adds.
11.30 am: A traffic jam is seen at the toll plaza on Delhi Noida Direct Flyway.
11.19 am: The Nationalist Congress Party says the new farming bills have created doubts an insecurity in the minds of farmers about the minimum support price MSP and other matters, ANI reports. “Modi government [Narendra Modi-led government] couldn’t form broader consensus and has failed to satisfy legitimate apprehensions of the farmers and entire opposition,” the party says.
NCP also issues a clarification about the controversy over party chief Sharad Pawar’s letters to Sheila Dixit and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief ministers of Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, in 2010 and 2011, when he was the Union agriculture minister.
11.08 am: Kejriwal reaches the Singhu border, ANI reports. “We support all demands of farmers,” he says. “Their issue and demands are valid. My party and I have stood with them from the very beginning.”
The Delhi chief minister adds: “At the beginning of their protests, [the] Delhi Police had sought permission to convert 9 stadiums into jails. I was pressurised but didn’t permit.”
10.21 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal leaves for the Singhu border.
10.19 am: Hotels, restaurants, resorts and bars in Punjab will remain closed on Tuesday as a mark of support to the Bharat Bandh called by the farmers, ANI reports. Pre-existing bookings for weddings and banquet halls will be exempted.
10.17 am: The Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari and Mangesh borders are closed due to the protest.
10.11 am: Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati extends her support to the Bharat Bandh called by the farmers on Tuesday. “Farmers are protesting all over the country for the withdrawal of three new laws related to agriculture and their organisations have called for a Bharat Bandh on December 8,” she tweets. “The BSP supports their call and urges the Centre to accept the demands of the farmers.”
10.10 am: Here are some pictures from the farmers’ protest at the Delhi-Haryana border.
10.07 am: Supreme Court Bar Association President Dushyant Dave offers free legal services to the agitating farmers in case they decide to challenge the agricultural laws in court, PTI reports. He also calls the Centre’s farm laws “unconstitutional and illegal”.
10.03 am: Rashtriya Loktantrik Party chief Hanuman Beniwal on Sunday announced said that his party will take a decision on whether or not to stay in National Democratic Alliance after December 8, according to ANI. Beniwal also extended his support to the Bharat Bandh called by the farmers.
8.57 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to visit Singhu border to inspect the arrangements for the protesting farmers, reports PTI.
7.34 am: Farmers continue to camp at Singhu border located between Haryana and Delhi, as protests against the new agricultural laws enter the 12th day.
7.31 am: Thousands of people protested in central London on Sunday over the Indian government’s agricultural reforms that have triggered a massive demonstration by farmers, reports PTI. The Metropolitan Police said that 13 people in total were arrested for breach of Covid-19 regulations. Four of them were subsequently released after they provided their details to officers and were issued a fine. The other nine remain in custody.
A crowd of demonstrators converged on the Indian embassy, located on Aldwych, a major artery in the centre of the British capital, and groups marched around the Trafalgar Square area, a Reuters photographer at the scene said.
7.20 am: The Bharatiya Janata Party leader also posts the party manifesto of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam from 2016, which talked about facilitating farmers to sell their produce without middlemen. “Now the leader has given a call to support [the Bharat] Bandhi,” of December 8, he says. “Hypocrites of the worst order. Expose every one of them.”
7.16 am: Bharatiya Janata Party leader BL Santhosh accuses farmers protesting against the newly passed agricultural laws of being hypocritical about their stance. In a tweet, Santhosh shares a newspaper clippings of farmers in Punjab and Haryana from 2008, demanding that corporations be allowed access to agricultural markets and buy their produce, which is what one of the Centre’s three new laws allows.
“This was in 2008,” he writes. “Farmers of Punjab and Haryana demanding allowing of corporates in agri marketing. Just understand the duplicity of the same unions now.”
7.09 am: Here are the top updates from Sunday
- Opposition parties expressed solidarity with the protesting farmers, who are demonstrating against the newly-passed agricultural laws, and said they would support the call for a countrywide shutdown, or “Bharat Bandh” on December 8.
- Political parties that have extended their support to the agitation include – the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress and Left outfits – Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Socialist Party and All India Forward Bloc. Telangana Rashtra Samithi also announced that it would actively participate in the bandh to ensure it is successful.
- In Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led opposition bloc, too, extended support to the countrywide shutdown, saying their demand for repealing the three legislations was “totally justified”. It appealed to farmers’ unions, traders’ bodies, government employees’ associations, labour unions and others in the state to extend “grand support” to the bandh and make it a success on Tuesday.
- Besides, worker and trade unions – Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India United Trade Union Centre and Trade Union Coordination Centre – have also lent their support to the farmers’ stir.
- Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam announced that it would take part in the ongoing farmers protest. In a statement, the party said that a 10-member team will reach Delhi soon to join the farmers.
- Olympic medalist boxer Vijender Singh said that he would return the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour, if the Centre does not repeal the contentious agricultural laws.
- Bharatiya Janata Party leader and actor Sunny Deol claimed the central government had the best interests of farmers in mind, and asked others to not take advantage of the situation by creating problems.
- With yet another round of talks with the Centre failing to yield any result, farmers’ union representatives resorted to a silent protest during their fifth meeting with the government on the newly-passed agriculture laws. Four hours into the meeting, the farmers refused to talk and used a placard saying “Yes/No” to ask the Centre’s representatives whether or not they were willing to repeal the laws.