NDTV News

Farmers Nationwide Protest: This is the second countrywide protest in less than a week.

Highlights

  • Farmers are holding a nine hour-long hunger strike today
  • This is the second nationwide protest in less than a week
  • Farmers have been camping on Delhi outskirts since late November

New Delhi:
Home Minister Amit Shah met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar this afternoon amid a nationwide hunger strike by farmer leaders as they step up protests against the new agricultural laws. With thousands of protesters camping near Delhi borders since late November, this is the second nationwide protest in less than a week after highways were blocked last Tuesday as a part of shutdown backed by opposition parties and trade unions. Despite several round of talks with the centre, farmers have said the agitation will continue till the new laws are scrapped. “There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector. Reforms have been brought with the best interests of farmers in mind,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said today.

Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:

  1. Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar today suggested the laws won’t be repealed. “We are ready for a discussion with protesting farmers, and we’re waiting for a response. We’ve made it clear we’re ready for clause by clause discussion,” he said after a meet with 10 farmer bodies from several states that expressed support on the three farm laws. 

  2. Clashes erupted this afternoon on Delhi-Jaipur highway when some farmers from Haryana were on their way to the national capital on tractors. Dramatic visuals showed farmers being dragged away and policemen snatching keys from them in a bid to block demonstrations. Around 20 people were detained and released about an hour later

  3. Thirty-three farmer leaders, who had attended government negotiations, were on hunger strike at Singhu on Haryana-Delhi border, one of the key protest sites. The hunger strike, which began at 8 AM and continued till 5 PM, is a part of the farmers’ plan to intensify their agitation.

  4. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was also fasting to express solidarity with farmers. “Fasting is pure. Wherever you are, please fast for our farmer brothers. Pray to god that they succeed as they struggle. In the end, they’ll win for sure,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted this morning in Hindi. 

  5.  At Delhi-Jaipur highway, Rampal Jatt, president of Kisan Mahapanchayat from Rajasthan, who was on a hunger strike today, told NDTV: “We want to protest peacefully. We also want to pay tribute to 11 people who have died since this agitation began.”

  6. The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) faction — one of the key organisations leading the farmers’ protest — saw discord on Sunday over the opening of a highway from Noida to Delhi, a day after Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh, BKU chief, met with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The UP unit chief of the BKU (Bhanu) Yogesh Pratap, who was holding a sit-in protest on the Chilla road for the last 12 days, disagreed with the decision.

  7. The farmers’ call to intensify the agitation came on Saturday, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured: “Reforms will help draw investment in agriculture and benefit farmers.” The government has tried to engage the representatives with even Union Home Minister Amit Shah stepping in for talks, offering changes to the laws and written assurances, but the demonstrators have held their ground.

  8. Voted through parliament in September with little debate, the laws only give an additional option to farmers to sell their produce, the government argues, but small farmers fear that once big corporate players enter the market, they will lose guarantees on prices.

  9.  A petition was filed on Friday in the Supreme Court by the Bharatiya Kisan Union that sought repeal of the laws. The top court has already issued notices to the centre on a batch of petitions challenging the laws. Three other petitions linked to the protests will be taken up on Wednesday.

  10. Several opposition parties, including the Congress, have been critcising the government over the handling of the protests. Thousands of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of Delhi since late November. Many of them braved a brutal police crackdown last month in BJP-ruled Haryana before being allowed into Delhi.


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