As their agitation over the new farm laws ended for seven months, farmers attempted to march to the residences of several state governors on Saturday even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar , asked them to put an end to their agitation and proposed to resume talks on the provisions of the three legislations.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of 40 farmers’ unions protesting at various Delhi border posts, claimed farmers were being held in states such as Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana during protests.
Calling Tomar’s recent statements “puzzling and contradictory,” he asserted that farmer leaders were not looking for “meaningless amendments” in central farm laws that have “fundamental flaws” and urged the people “to punish the BJP ”.
Security was stepped up in the nation’s capital and other cities after SKM said farmers’ representatives would submit briefs of their demands, addressed to the president, to governors of various states.
Hundreds of farmers from inside Uttar Pradesh, many on tractors, have reached Ghazipur on the Delhi border to mark the end of the seven-month protest.
Led by Union Bhartiya Kisan (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, a group of protesters submitted a memorandum of their demands to the DCP Northeast Delhi office after a virtual meeting with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
The farmers then canceled their march to Delhi, BKU media official Dharmendra Malik said.
“The memorandum included our demands for the withdrawal of the three new farm laws and the enactment of a new law to ensure the guarantee of the MSP,” he told PTI.
Farmers from several parts of Haryana gathered at Gurdwara Nada Sahib in the Panchkula of Haryana and made their way to Haryana Raj Bhavan, making their way through a layer of barricades, but were stopped at the border Chandigarh-Panchkula where the state police had deployed water cannons and trucks.
“Where was the need to stop the protesters? It was only a matter of delivering a memorandum to the governor and not allowing so much is a reflection of the undeclared emergency and the authoritarian period we are going through, ”SKM said in a statement.
The police used water cannons to stop agitating the Punjabi farmers coming from the Mohali side, but they managed to enter Chandigarh after passing through barricades.
Farmers from several parts of the Punjab had gathered at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in Mohali before heading to the House of the Governor of the Punjab.
The majority of the protesters were without masks and were not following appropriate COVID behavior.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping on the Delhi borders for seven months to protest against the three laws.
The government and farmers ‘unions have so far held 11 rounds of talks, the most recent on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence at a tractor rally organized by protesting farmers on January 26.
“I want to convey through your (media) that the farmers should end their agitation. … .Many are in favor of these new laws across the country. However, some farmers have problems with the provisions of the laws, the Indian government is ready to listen to them and discuss with them, ”tweeted Agriculture Minister Tomar.
His previous offer to resume talks failed to break the deadlock as farmers insisted on repealing the laws and demanded a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP).
Tomar said the government has held 11 rounds of consultations with protesting farmer unions and has increased the MSP and buys more quantity from the MSP.
Addressing protesters in Mohali, farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal Rajewal alleged that the central government intended to “hand over agriculture” to the companies.
Carrying union flags and waving slogans against the BJP-led government, protesters, including women and youth, marched to Chandigarh in tractors and other vehicles or on foot.
They were stopped near Sector 17 by the police where buses were parked on the road to prevent the demonstrators from heading towards the Punjab Raj Bhavan.
Rajewal submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Chandigarh.
“The memorandum urges President Shri Ram Nath Kovind to order the Union government to immediately accept the legitimate demands of the farmers’ movement, to repeal the three anti-farmer laws and to enact a law that will ensure a remunerative PSM… ”Said Morcha. in a report.
Protesters on the Haryana side, led by Haryana BKU (Chaduni) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni and Morcha member Yogendra Yadav, handed a memorandum to another official.
Gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana, who was convicted of his alleged involvement in the violence at Red Fort on Republic Day during a tractor rally, also participated in the farmers’ protests.
A Delhi court on Saturday granted provisional protection from arrest to Sidhana. He had moved the Tis Hazari court from Delhi to seek early bail in this case.
Additional Sessions Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen released the case on July 3 and ordered police not to arrest him until then. Sidhana had previously denied any involvement in the Republic Day violence.
Le Morcha said that ‘Kheti Bachao, Loktantra Bachao Diwas’ (save agriculture, save democracy) is being marked across India on Saturday after seven months of farmer protests and 46 years after the enactment of the state of emergency in India in 1975..
The government has said it is ready to change the provisions of the laws.
The Supreme Court in January suspended implementation of the three laws until further notice and set up a committee to resolve the dispute. The committee has submitted its report.
In the 10th round of talks held on January 20, the Center proposed to suspend laws for 1 to 1.5 years and form a joint committee to find solutions, in return for the protesting farmers to return to their homes. respective homes from the Delhi borders.
The three laws – the Agricultural Trade and Trade (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020, the Farmers’ Agricultural Price Insurance and Services Agreement (Empowerment and Protection) Act of 2020, and the Essential Products Act 2020 (Amendment) – have been adopted. by Parliament in September of last year.
Farmer groups have claimed that these laws will end the mandi and MSP supply systems and leave farmers at the mercy of big business, even though the government has dismissed such apprehensions as inappropriate.
“The farmers are ready to deploy all their energies to educate their fellow citizens and call on them to punish the BJP. This is the only lesson the government seems ready to listen to, ”SKM said after Saturday’s protests.
Meanwhile, Delhi police said on Saturday they denied reports of Tikait’s arrest and said action would be taken against those who spread such fake news.