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Farmers cancel Budget day march to Parliament; to hold hunger strike on Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary

Farmers' unions have cancelled their planned march to Parliament on February 1, the Budget Day -- as cracks began to appear in the ongoing agitation against the agri laws after the violence during the tractor parade on Republic Day

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | January 28, 2021 | Updated 08:41 IST
Farmers cancel Budget day march to Parliament; to hold hunger strike on Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary
Sanyukt Kisan Morcha leaders

Farmers' unions have cancelled their planned march to Parliament on February 1, the Budget Day -- as cracks began to appear in the ongoing agitation against the agri laws after the violence during the tractor parade on Republic Day.

However, the farm unions said their agitation against the farm laws will continue and hunger strikes will be held across the country on January 30 on Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary to emphasise peace and non-violence.

"We have cancelled our plan for a march to Parliament on budget day on February 1. But our agitation will continue and there will be public meetings and hunger strike across the country on January 30," farmer leader Darshan Pal, who has been accused by the police of making inflammatory speeches, said.

The decision to hold a hunger strike has come a day after massive violence during their tractor rally in Delhi that left nearly 400 police personnel injured, as the protesters deviated from the routes, clashed with the police and laid siege to the Red Fort.

But the farmer leaders alleged that there was a conspiracy behind Tuesday's incidents and demanded a probe. "The conspiracy to defame a peaceful movement of last seven months is now exposed in front of the public. Along with some individuals and organisations, like Deep Sidhu and Kisan Majdoor Sangarsh Committee led by S Satnam Singh Pannu, the government made this movement violent. We clarify again that we dissociate ourselves from the violent actions which took place at Red Fort and other parts of Delhi," Pal said at the press conference.

"The tractor parade was hit by a government conspiracy. Deep Sidhu is an RSS man. Police let him go after he hoisted a religious flag at Red Fort," Pal alleged at a press conference.

Sidhu is a former aide of actor and BJP MP Sunny Deol. Deol had distanced himself from Sidhu in December after he supported the farmers' agitation. "The parade of the farmers was predominantly peaceful and on the agreed-upon route. We strongly condemn the insult to national symbols, but the farmers' movement cannot be painted as 'violent' as violence was done by a few anti-social elements, who are not associated with us.

"Farmers from all borders reached their original place (of protest) after peacefully completing their respective parades yesterday itself," he added.

Another farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal claimed that over two lakh tractors and lakhs of people participated in Tuesday's parade and "99.9 percent of the protesters were peaceful".

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said, "We regret the Red Fort incident and accept its moral responsibility. The incident should be probed. There is a conspiracy behind it."

Responding to a question on farmer leaders being named in FIR, Yadav said, "FIR, jail and torture are rewards of movements".

As many as 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal, Medha Patkar and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, have been named in an FIR in connection with the violence during the tractor parade.

Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points, including Tikri, Singhu, and Ghazipur, since November 28, demanding a complete repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops.

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