The farmers' protest, which was initiated predominantly by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, is now gaining nationwide traction. Among the thousands agitating against the three newly-implemented farm laws since September 2020, a large group of farmers have decided to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway to further intensify the protests.
Here are the top updates regarding the matter from the past week:
- A gathering of farmers had begun on Sunday morning in the Shahjahanpur district at the Rajasthan-Haryana border. This was done to block the highway between Delhi and Jaipur, ahead of a tractor rally.
- Protestors with banners and placards were seen marching down the highway and shouting slogans, while being accompanied by tractors and cars that also waved banners.
- Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav and activist Medha Patkar were also spotted on ground near Shahjahanpur, holding a banner that read: "Dilli chalo, Dilli chalo, Samyukt Kisan Morcha".
- In order to manage the agitation that is intensifying by the hour, Delhi Police has tightened border regulations and has deployed thousands of policemen along the highways that lead to the national capital. The Tikri and Dhansa borders are shut, while the Jhatikara border is open only for two-wheelers and pedestrians.
- A group of 29 farm leaders from Haryana had also met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday to express solidarity with the new farm laws. "We will also protest if the government repeals the laws. We have given a memorandum to all districts," Bharatiya Kisan Union (Mann) leader Guni Prakash told reporters after the meeting.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi too pitched the new laws at the annual meet of FICCI on Saturday, saying that his government has taken "all these initiatives to increase the farmers' income and make them more prosperous. Reforms will help draw investment in agriculture and benefit farmers."
- Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala stated on Saturday that the deadlock on deliberations between the central government and farmers will end within 24-48 hours. "I'm hopeful that there will be talks between the Centre and the farmers (that) will be fruitful. I'm hopeful that in the next 24 to 48 hours, there will be a final round of talks and the two sides will reach a conclusive solution," said the BJP ally, speaking to ANI.
- Supreme Court will hear three petitions related to the farmers' protests on Wednesday. One pertains to the use of force on farmers, seeking compensation for them, while the other urges for the protestors to be allowed to enter the national capital. Another petition filed by a student from Delhi says that the protests are acting as a hindrance in the functioning of emergency health services required to manage the pandemic.
- Earlier this week, the Centre had offered amendments to the farmers, which were concordantly rejected by the latter. Instead, the farmers announced to intensify the protests in response, after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah yielded no consequence.
- In addition, the farmers have also planned a nationwide hunger strike, as well as protests outside district offices on Monday. While the farmers are claiming that the laws endanger their livelihood by altering the mechanism of their profession, the Centre is adamant that the laws brought in will reform the agricultural sector and increase incomes. Multiple talks and meetings have bore no fruit, with both sides unwilling to budge; farmers are unwilling to accept the amendments the Centre has proposed to make in the farm laws, and want them to be scrapped altogether.
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