Modi govt faces a big test as farmers protest new farming laws
Top Congress, AAP leaders attack government for ignoring demands of farmers
The farmers protesting against the three agriculture sector laws passed by the Central government were allowed to enter the national capital on Friday after the Tikri border between Delhi and Haryana was opened for them.
Delhi police gave permission to farmers to hold their demonstrations at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in the Burari area. “After discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold a peaceful protest at Nirankari Ground, Burari. Delhi Police appeals them to maintain peace,” Delhi Police tweeted through its official handle.
Haryana Police also removed the barricades at the Shambhu border between Haryana and Punjab, near Ambala. “Now, nobody will be stopped, commuters can travel with ease,” said Rajesh Kalia, Superintendent of Police, Ambala.
Speaking to ANI, a farmer from Punjab who left his home yesterday thanked the administration and Central government for the permission to hold the demonstration in the national capital.
“I left from Punjab yesterday, and after managing to cross 10 barricades have reached the Tikri border at 10 am today. Since then I had been waiting to move forward. We are thankful for the government and administration for the permission,” he said.
Earlier in the day, All India Kisan Samiti’s working committee members also joined the protesting farmers at the Tikri border.
Kirankumar Vissa, who was representing farmers from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana told ANI that smaller demonstrations by farmers are being held in front of Central government offices in various districts across the country.
“Farmers from around the country want these three laws to be repealed. We just have this one demand. We want the Central government and citizens of the country to hear our voice. All kinds of farmers’ organisations are united in this protest.” said Vissa.
He added that farmers who are protesting are “aware that these laws will put their income in the hands of corporate.”
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday welcomed the Centre’s decision to allow the agitating farmers to enter the national capital.
Punjab Chief Minister’s response comes after the Delhi Police gave permission to the farmers to peacefully protest against farm laws at Nirankari Samagam Ground in Burari. “After discussion with farmer leaders, Delhi Police has allowed farmers to protest peacefully at Nirankari Samagam Ground in Burari. We appeal to them to maintain peace in order to avoid any inconvenience to others,” said Delhi Police Public relations officer (PRO) Eish Singhal.
Appreciating the decision to allow the farmers in Delhi, Amarinder Singh said:” Though the central government has allowed the farmers to enter the national capital to exercise their democratic right to protest, the Haryana government is engaged in a confrontationist approach against the farmers moving towards Delhi.”
In a tweet, Singh, however, expressed shock at the methods used by the Khattar government in their bid to stop the farmers.
“Impressed by remarkable restraint shown by farmers in face of @mlkhattar government’s and Haryana police’s brutality. Their exemplary behaviour shows that farmers are not interested in confrontation, they only want to be heard, which is their constitutional right,” the Punjab Chief Minister tweeted.
The Punjab Chief Minister also said that farmers did not inflict even an “iota of damage” during the protests in the past three months.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday termed the three farm laws brought by Centre as “black laws” and said Modi government will have to accept the demands of the farmers to take them back.
He said in a tweet that no government can stop farmers battling for truth. “Prime Minister should remember that whenever ego clashes with the truth, the ego always gets defeated. No government in the world can stop farmers battling for truth. The Modi government will have to accept the demands of the farmers and take back black laws. This is just the beginning,” he said.
The three farm laws are: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The government has sought to allay apprehensions of farmers on the minimum support price and said farm laws provide them freedom to sell their produce.
Congress leader and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday condemned the use of force against the farmers by Haryana police and said that tear gas and water cannon “aggravated the misery of farmers” who are already in tears against the three recently-enacted farm laws.
Farmers were marching peacefully. They are already in tears and tear gas was fired on them. Water cannons are dangerous in this weather, yet they were used. There is only one solution and that is to talk with the farmers and sort out their issues. Their demands are valid and we are also supporting them,” Hooda told ANI here.
Hooda also requested people of Haryana help the farmers coming towards Delhi by providing them food, shelter, and any kind of medical help.
“I would request the people of Haryana that marching farmers should not face any shortage of food. If they require medical help, people should provide it along with shelter,” he added.
Hooda also urged the state and central governments to listen to the grievances of the farmers and find a solution.
He said despite Haryana government’s “efforts to suppress the farmers,” they now have a place in Burari area for demonstrations.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliate Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has urged the Centre to resolve issues being raised by farmers regarding the three agriculture laws through dialogue and also urged the farmers to not become victim of ploys by political parties. BKS leaders warned NDA government that if the issues are not addressed at the earliest, the agitation could be hijacked by opposition parties. The leaders said they are against any use of force or violence by police.
BKS organizing secretary Dinesh Kulkari told ANI that BKS was awaiting outcome of the meeting called by the central government on December 3 with farmer representatives and will then take a decision on agitation.
“We are awaiting talks with the government scheduled for December 3, for taking any decision on this. On December 3 the government has called all agitating farmers unions for talks. Pending the outcome of this meeting, the BKS will take a decision on the issue,” he said.
Senior functionaries of BKS said that the organisation is planning a national meet of its representative to finalise the strategy on farm laws if the government does not accept their demands including on minimum support price (MSP).
A BKS leader said the government should aim to resolve the situation soon.
“The Centre should aim to resolve the issues being faced by farmers. The misgivings of the farmers need to be addressed. Unless this is done effectively, we think that there is a danger that the protests might be taken over by political parties for their ulterior motives,” he said.
He said BKS had put forth three demands that the purchase should be linked to the MSP, there should be registration of traders and bank guarantee by them.
The BKS leader said that the ongoing protests seemed to be fuelled by political motives.
“That is the reason we have not joined the protest yet and have adopted a wait and watch policy,” he said.
Welcoming the protesting farmers, who were allowed to enter Delhi through the Tikri border to hold demonstrations on Nirankari Samagam Ground in the Burari area against the new farm laws, the Aam Adami Party on Friday said that it will make all the necessary arrangements for them.
“The Aam Aadmi Party welcomes the farmers to Delhi. We will take full care of the farmers and make all the necessary arrangements for them. We stand with the farmers in this battle. Jai Kisan,” the party tweeted from its official handle. Prior to that, the party also disclosed the capital territory government’s decision to reject Delhi Police’s application seeking permission to convert stadiums into temporary jails for the protesting farmers and asked the central government to accept their demands.