Farmers protesting against the Centre’s three agriculture laws in Punjab, Haryana and at the borders of Delhi on Wednesday burnt copies of the legislations and shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, a large convoy of tractors left Amritsar for Delhi to participate in the protest parade announced by farmer unions during Republic Day celebrations on January 26.
For more than a month, tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi, to protest against what they see as laws threatening their livelihoods. Eight rounds of talks with the government has so far failed end the impasse. The ninth round of talks will be held on Friday.
Here are the day’s updates:
10.09 pm: The Aligarh Muslim University students’ coordination committee says they will set up a health camp and a mini library at a farmers’ protest site in the Delhi border as a mark of solidarity with the protesters, reports PTI.
10.04 pm: The Aam Aadmi Party members burn copies of the three farm laws while celebrating Lohri in Punjab.
“On the occasion of Lohri dedicated to the farmer brothers who were martyred in the farmers’ struggle, Aam Aadmi Party leaders and workers burnt copies of the anti-farmer black laws under the leadership of party’s Punjab unit chief Bhagwat Mann,” AAP tweets.
8.28 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait says the government should arrest anyone who fuels anti-India sentiments at the protest, reports ANI.
8.26 pm: Bar Council of India urges farmers to respect the judiciary and suspend the agitation following the Supreme Court’s order, reports PTI.
7.22 pm: Here are the visuals of farmers burning copies at the Ghazipur border and Singhu border.
7.09 pm: Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjeet Singh Aujla also tears and burns a copy of the farm laws at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, reports ANI.
7.08 pm: Farmers protesting at Delhi’s Tikri border burn copies of the three farm laws, according to ANI.
7.05 pm: Actor and founder of Makkal Neethi Maiam Kamal Hassan the Supreme Court for staying the implementation of the farm laws, reports The Times of India. “We are grateful,” he adds.
7.03 pm: Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala says the Centre is in favour of continuing talks with the protesting farmers as the government believes that a solution can only be found through dialogue, reports The Times of India.
3.28 pm: Farmers in Punjab burn the copies of the Centre’s three new farm laws on the occasion of Lohri, PTI reports.
2.25 pm: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tweets criticising government for its stand that farmers’ tractor rally scheduled on January 26 will cause national embarrassment.
“The Modi government is not embarrassed by the death of more than 60 farmers, but by tractor rally,” he tweeted in Hindi.
2.24 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Hema Malini claims farmers are not aware of what they want and what is wrong with the farm laws, reports NDTV.
2.23 pm: Punjab gurudwaras appeal people to participate in the tractor rally planned by farmer unions, reports NDTV.
2 pm: Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, reports PTI. Chautala is the leader of Jannayak Janata Party which is an alliance partner in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Haryana.
A section of JJP MLAs is believed to have been facing pressure from the agitating farmers, according to PTI.
1.57 pm: Minister of State for Agriculture and Family Welfare Kailash Choudhary says Supreme Court-appointed committee will take an impartial stand on the matter of the new agriculture laws, reports ANI.
“Let these laws be implemented for some time and then we are ready to amend them if needed,” he says.
11.43 am: With the Supreme Court staying the implementation of three contentious farm laws and constituting a four-member committee, uncertainty revolves around the January 15 meeting between the Centre and representatives of the protesting farmer unions, reports The Indian Express. Unidentified officials told the newspaper that as the court has constituted a committee to listen to the farmers’ grievances, “there is no use of holding parallel discussions”.
11.38 am: Movement of traffic between Delhi and its two neighbouring states, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, remains disrupted as six borders are still completely closed because of the ongoing farmers’ agitation, reports the Hindustan Times. Besides this, two other key borders connecting the Capital with Uttar Pradesh are partially closed.
11.33 am: Farmers protesting at Delhi borders say they will burn copies of Centre’s new agricultural laws today at all demonstration sites on the occasion of the harvest festival, Lohri, reports PTI. Lohri is mostly celebrated in north India, marking the beginning of the spring season. Bonfires are a special characteristic of the festival.
11.31 am: Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary on Tuesday said the Supreme Court order to stay implementation of three new farm laws is against the government’s wishes, but the direction of the court is “sarva-manya”, or acceptable to all, reports PTI. The minister, however, welcomed the composition of an “impartial” committee to resolve the deadlock.
8.35 am: The controversial farm laws are: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.
A stay on their implementation by the Supreme Court means the Narendra Modi government cannot, for the time being, enforce the laws.
8.33 am: Who is on the Supreme Court-appointed panel to resolve deadlock?
These are the four names:
- Bhupinder Singh Mann, National President, Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee.
- Pramod Kumar Joshi, agricultural economist, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute.
- Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.
- Anil Ghanwat, president, Shetkari Sanghatana, a Maharashtra-based farmer body.
As has been pointed out by many observers including the farmer groups themselves, all four of the members of the committee have previously spoken out in favour of the laws in some form or the other.
8.30 am: Farmers have refused to appear before the Supreme Court-nominated committee to resolve the standoff over three agricultural reform laws. They have said the members were in support of the new legislations and were “pro-government”.
8.22 am: Som Prakash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, calls on all sides to “honour” the Supreme Court’s ruling on the agriculture laws, reports The Indian Express. “The Supreme Court is the apex court of the land,” he says. “All of us should honour its order. Be it the government or farmers, all of us should work for the progress of the country.”
Prakash is part of a three-member ministerial committee negotiating with the farm leaders. The panel also comprises Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Power Minister Piyush Goyal.
8.18 am: A large convoy of tractors left Punjab’s Amritsar for Delhi on Tuesday as farmers have threatened to intensify their agitation during Republic Day celebrations on January 26 by holding a parallel rally, reports NDTV. This comes even as the Supreme Court ordered an indefinite stay on the implementation of new agricultural laws.
A village in Punjab’s Sangrur has even decided to fine those who have decided to not participate in the rally, according to the television channel.
“The SC’s stay was on anticipated lines, so we were not really disappointed,” Germanjit Singh, a farm leader who is headed to Delhi tells The Times of India. “We have continued out journey with stronger resolve.”
8.15 am: Amid mounting pressure due to the farmers’ round-the-clock sit-ins on the outskirts of New Delhi against the farm laws, Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar and his Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Tuesday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the Capital. They reiterated that there was no threat to the state’s coalition government.
A quick look at the developments from Tuesday:
- The Supreme Court suspended the implementation of the new farm laws until further orders and formed a committee to resolve the deadlock between the Centre and farmers’ union over the contentious legislations. The court said that All India Kisan Coordination Committee chief Bhupinder Singh Mann, Director for South Asia of International Food Policy Research Institute Pramod Joshi, agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and Maharashtra Shetkari Sangathna member Anil Ghanwat would be the members of the panel.
- Farm unions said that the members of the Supreme Court-nominated committee were “pro-government” and support the contentious legislations. They refused to appear before the panel, calling it “a government ploy”.
- A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde also asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to file an affidavit by Wednesday on the allegations that separatist Khalistani elements have infiltrated the farmers’ protest against the agricultural laws.