Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre's new farm laws are currently staying put at the Singhu and Tikri borders amid heavy police presence
Chandigarh: Farmers stayed put at Delhi borders on Saturday with thousands more set to join them and their leaders yet to take a call on shifting to the Burari ground, a place earmarked for their agitation by police.
Thousands of farmers protesting the Centre’s new farm laws are currently staying put at the Singhu and Tikri borders amid heavy police presence.
“At present, we are here (at the Delhi border). We have still not decided on going to the Burari ground. We will have a meeting in the evening to decide the next course of action,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said over the phone.
However, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of the largest farmer organisations in Punjab, said they will not go to the Burari ground in Delhi. “We urge the Union government to give us a place at the Jantar Mantar for the agitation. We will not go to the Burari ground at any cost,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) senior vice-president Jhanda Singh Jethuke.
Meanwhile, Punjab farmers resumed their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s new farm laws on Saturday morning after halting for the night to join thousands who have already reached the national capital’s borders.
“We have reached close to the Delhi border. But we are stuck because of traffic snarls. Our farmers who are in tractor-trailers are still behind us,” said BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leader Jhanda Singh Jethuke said.
BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leaders claimed that over one lakh farmers, including elderly women, are marching to the national capital in tractor-trailers, buses and other vehicles. “We have ration for five to six months to sustain ourselves. We will not return till the Centre scraps the new farm laws,” a protesting farmer said.
Farmers have brought ration, vegetables, utensils, wood and other essentials for their march. In view of cold weather conditions, they have stocked quilts, blankets and covered their trolleys with tarpaulin.
Farmers associated with the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) said they entered Haryana on Saturday for their march to the national capital. “Our farmers are expected to reach Delhi late in the evening,” said KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher.
Earlier in the day, BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leader Shingara Singh said farmers again started heading towards Delhi in the morning after a night halt at Meham in Rohtak district of Haryana.
Another group of farmers made a night halt at Julana in Haryana’s Jind district, he said.
Farmers with the outfit had on Friday broken through police barricades at Khanauri and Dabwali borders between Punjab and Haryana.
Punjab farmers in large numbers had on Friday crossed the state’s border with Haryana. Some even faced water cannons and teargas.
Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their concerns. “@narendramodi ji I urge you to reach out and listen to the concerns of the farmers immediately. The GoI should not wait till Dec 3 to conduct discussions with the farmer unions,” Bajwa said in a tweet.
“Our kisans, those who feed our nation are braving the cold, water cannons and tear gas all to be heard by the GoI. By intervening directly, the Hon’ble PM can help de-escalate the growing tension,” Bajwa said in another tweet.
The All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and various factions of Bharatiya Kisan Union had given the call for the march. Farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws have expressed apprehension that these will pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The Centre has invited several Punjab farmer organisations for another round of talks in Delhi on December 3.