Farm laws: Haryana priest dies by suicide, says ‘sacrificing life to express anger against Centre’
BJP chief JP Nadda, meanwhile, said that farmers’ interest is always the top priority for the Narendra Modi government.
A 65-year-old priest from Haryana, who had joined the farmers protest at the Delhi border, died by suicide. In a note, Baba Ram Singh has said that he was sacrificing his life “to express anger and pain against the government’s injustice”.
BJP chief JP Nadda, meanwhile, said that farmers’ interest is always the top priority for the Narendra Modi government as the agitation against the agricultural laws continued for 21st straight day.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court proposed the formation of a committee comprising representatives of farmers and the government. The court noted that the government’s negotiations with farmers won’t work.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi. The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
Read today’s top updates
10.21 pm: The Supreme Court allows the impleadment of eight farmers unions in the petitions seeking removal of the farmers protests at the Delhi borders, reports Live Law.
10.18 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala clarifies the party’s stand on private players entering agricultural trade, saying it was never against corporates procuring produce from farmers, reports News18. “Let me reiterate that let all industrialists come in, that let all private players come in and buy food grains at MSP [minimum support price],” he tells the channel.
10.15 pm: Union home minister Amit Shah says the Narendra Modi government is continuously working for the interests of the country’s farmers, as he lauds the Centre’s decision to approve an assistance of Rs 3,500 crore for sugarcane farmers.
8.22 pm: Choudhary accuses Opposition parties of using the farmers’ protest for their political ambitions. “The Left and Opposition parties have intruded farmers’ movement and are trying to use farmers for their political ambitions,” he tells ANI. “I’m seeing that children are being used to spread a false narrative...”
8.20 pm: Union minister Kailash Choudhary claims that farmers across India are supporting the three agricultural laws, reports ANI. “These bills are pro-farmers, which give them the freedom to sell their produce to anyone at any price at their own will,” he adds. “If protesting farmers want some amendments, then government is ready for it.”
8.18 pm: A 65-year-old priest from Haryana, who had joined the farmers protest at the Delhi border, has died by suicide, reports NDTV. In a note, Baba Ram Singh has said that he was sacrificing his life “to express anger and pain against the government’s injustice”.
The police said that Singh had shot himself, according to the television channel. “He was rushed to Park hospital in Panipat and was declared dead on arrival by the doctors,” says the Deputy Police Commissioner of Sonipat.
8.15 pm: The Jaipur-Delhi highway remains partially blocked as the farmers’ protests against the Centre’s agriculture laws entered its fourth day on the Haryana-Rajasthan border, reports PTI.
7.13 pm: Amid the continuing standoff over the agricultural laws, BJP President JP Nadda says that farmers’ interest is always the top priority for the Narendra Modi government, reports PTI. Nadda was lauding the Union Cabinet’s approval for Rs 3,500 crore subsidy for sugar mills.
7.10 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says the concerns raised by protesting farmers can be solved in five minutes if Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself steps in to resolve the matter, reports PTI. “Stretching the issue this far, is like paving way for a new anarchy,” says Raut.
6.36 pm: BJP’s Gujarat unit president CR Paatil has claimed that the ongoing farmers’ protests at Delhi’s borders is a planned conspiracy by the Opposition to create anarchy in the country and destabilise it, reports PTI.
6 pm: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri urges protesting farmers to resume talks with the central government to discuss their “genuine” demands, saying this is not the time to remain “adamant”, reports PTI. “We are ready to find a solution of this problem, but it is necessary that the farmer brothers join the talks again and put forth their points face to face,” he says.
5.57 pm: Union minister Som Prakash welcomes the Supreme Court suggestion to form a panel to resolve the deadlock between the Centre and the protesting farmers, reports ANI.
“Even we want to resolve farmers’ issue quickly,” he says. “The Farmers and the government will express their views in the committee, which is good. Whatever final decision the Supreme Court takes tomorrow on the issue, we will act accordingly.”
4.36 pm: Farmers in Ludhiana who are on their way to join the protests near Delhi borders are being provided free diesel by youths of the nearby villages, reports The Indian Express.
4.32 pm: Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Minister Kamal Patel claims those protesting against the Centre’s three new farm laws are “middlemen” and not farmers, reports PTI. “As the three new laws have hit hard the middlemen, who have captured the entire market and given donations to political parties, they are agitating on the issue and demanding their rollback,” the minister tells the news agency. “They are not real farmers.”
4.29 pm: Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai says the Centre should let go of its “ego and stubbornness”, and accept the demands of the farmers regarding the new agricultural legislations, reports PTI. Rai adds that he and his party “stands firmly” with the protesting farmers and will provide them with all necessary assistance.
4.25 pm: A group of farmers from Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib has started an “informal school” in a makeshift tent for local slum children at the Singhu border, reports PTI. Started by writer Bir Singh and advocate Dinesh Chaddha, the temporary school that started on Monday is part of the multiple services being offered at the protest site, where thousands of farmers have been demonstrating against three new farm laws for over 20 days.
4.20 pm: All vehicular movement around the Tikri and Dhansa borders of the Capital has been suspended in light of the farmers’ agitation. Jhatikara border, on the other hand, is only open for two wheelers and pedestrian movement.
4.12 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan criticises Rahul Gandhi for supporting the farmers’ agitation, reports ANI. “On what grounds is Rahul Gandhi protesting against the farm laws?” Chouhan asks. “Does he know what farming is? Can he even tell the correct way to sow a corn plant?”
2.32 pm: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, representing protesting farmers’ unions, rejected the Centre’s proposal to amend the three farm laws, through an email sent today to the agriculture ministry, reports The Hindu. “We want the government to stop maligning the farmers’ movement and stop parallel negotiations with other farmer organisations,” says the email.
2.25 pm: A police official tells PTI that the Delhi-Noida Link Road was closed for commuters around 11 am. “The DND and the Kalindi Kunj routes are operational and commuters are advised to take these routes for travelling to and fro Delhi,” he adds.
1.33 pm: The Supreme Court proposes the formation of a committee comprising representatives of farmers and the government, Live Law reports. “All of you sit together,” the chief justice says. “Prepare a tentative list of committee members. Government’s engagement with farmers won’t workout it seems.”
1.30 pm: After the petitioner’s lawyer cites Shaheen Bagh during the hearing, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde says there cannot be a precedent in law and order matters, ANI reports.
1.25 pm: The Supreme Court issues a notice to the Centre and States on a batch of pleas seeking the removal of the farmers from the border points of Delhi, ANI reports.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta tells the court that the Centre intends to set up a committee comprising representatives of farmers’ unions across India, the government and other stakeholders to resolve the standoff.
1.20 pm: The farmers reject the Centre’s proposal for amendments to the laws in writing, The Indian Express reports.
11.52 am: Police beefs up security arrangements at the Chilla border between Delhi and Noida, reports PTI. Multi-layered barricades, jersey barriers and additional security personnel have been deployed to ensure law and order.
11.51 am: Farmers block Chilla border between Delhi and Noida, reports ANI.
9.55 am: Farmers’ groups write to Agriculture Ministry Secretary Vivek Agarwal, asking that the government stop discrediting their protests and give equal importance to all unions in discussions, India Today reports.
7.50 am: A faction of the Bhartiya Kisan Union suspends it protest for a month after meeting Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar on Tuesday, NDTV reports. “We have placed a demand before the minister that a new law should be enacted on the Minimum Support price,” the union’s head Pawan Thakkar tells the news channel.
7.40 am: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says that the government will call the protesting farmers for discussions, the day they revert with their response to the concessions offered, The Indian Express reports.
Tomar connects the laws to the “303-seat mandate”, the BJP’s seat share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He adds that the mandate was given to the government to bring change and not just stay in power.
7.30 am: The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear a petition seeking a direction to the authorities to remove the farmers protesting near Delhi, PTI reports. The petitioner said that commuters are facing troubles due to the road blockades and that the gatherings might lead to a rise in coronavirus cases.
7.20 am: The farmers declare December 20 as a day of mourning for those who have died during the protests, NDTV reports. They say that the government is responsible for the deaths of 20 farmers.
“On an average, one farmer has died every day since this agitation started on November 26,” Bharatiya Kisan Union President Jagjit Singh Dallewala says, according to Hindustan Times. “We will pay homage to all the farmers who have been martyred in this duration on December 20 across all villages in the country. “When their names and photos will reach villages, more people will come forward to join us in our struggle.”
7.15 am: Farmer leader Jagjeet Dallewal says the unions will make the government repeal the three laws, NDTV reports. “The government is saying we won’t repeal these laws,” he says. “We are saying we will make you do it. The fight has reached a stage where we are determined to win no matter what.”
He adds: “We are not running away from negotiation, but the government has to pay heed to our demands and come forward with concrete proposals.”
Here is a recap of the events from Tuesday:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again supported the three contentious farm laws as he accused the Opposition parties of misguiding protesting farmers. Modi said his government would keep assuring farmers and address their concerns.
- The agitating farmers threatened to completely block the Noida-Delhi border point at Chilla on Wednesday. They camped out near Delhi for the 20th straight day.
- The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the country’s top trade association, called for an early resolution of the farmers’ crisis, saying that it was causing a daily loss of Rs 3,500 crore.
- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal once again engaged in an argument on Twitter, accusing each other of “serving political purposes” and “maintaining double standards” over the ongoing farmers’ protests.
- Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Union minister Nitin Gadkari claimed the farmers’ protest was being hijacked by anti-national forces.