The talks between the Delhi Police and the protesting farmers’ union on Thursday remained inconclusive as the latter refused to accept the alternative route for their proposed January 26 tractor rally on the busy Outer Ring Road, PTI reported.
“We will do our parade peacefully inside Delhi,” Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav said. “They wanted us to hold the tractor rally outside Delhi, which is not possible.”
Unidentified officials said that the police tried to convince the farmers to hold the rally on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway, instead of the Outer Ring Road. However, farmers did not agree to this, an official said. The police had also tried to propose the same route during a similar meeting held on Tuesday, but could not convince the farmers.
When asked about the tractor rally, Joint Commissioner of Police Manish Agrawal did not provide the specific details of measures they would take, according to ANI. “To ensure the smooth conduction of the Republic Day parade is the job of the Delhi Police and we are committed to its consummation,” he said. “We can’t talk of any specific measures still.”
Special Commissioner (Law and Order-Western Zone) Sanjay Singh, Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Dependra Pathak and other senior officers from Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police attended Thursday’s meeting.
The Centre, in an application filed through the Delhi Police, had on January 11 moved the Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor rally, saying any disruption caused on the occasion would be a “huge embarrassment for the nation”. The Supreme Court had on Wednesday told the Delhi Police to decide whether or not to give permission for the rally.
The bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian had said it was “inappropriate” for the court to act on the Centre’s plea. The court said it was not for it to pass orders. After this, the Centre withdrew its injunction plea.
The farmers have said their 50-km parade will be held in the Outer Ring Road, which passes through several areas of Delhi such as Vikaspuri, Janakpuri, Uttam Nagar, Burari, Peeragarhi and Pitampura.
The protestors had on January 7 organised a tractor rally near Delhi, which they said was a rehearsal for Republic Day. Thousands of farmers started journeys on their tractors from protest sites, bordering Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, and Rewasan in Haryana, to the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping out on the outskirts of Delhi for over 50 days, demanding the repeal of the three agricultural laws passed in September. The farmers believe that the new laws undermine their livelihood and open the path for the corporate sector to dominate agricultural.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.
The two sides are scheduled to hold their eleventh meeting on Friday after the Centre agreed to suspend the implementation of the three contentious farm laws for one-and-a-half years and offered to convey it to the Supreme Court in an affidavit.