Farmers crossed Shambhu border at Ambala and have crossed Kurukshetra, Pipli Mandi in tens of thousands and are marching towards Delhi, PTI reported.
Punjab farmers have been demanding the repeal of the new farm laws. (ANI Image)
Ahead of the talks with farmers on December 3 to resolve differences over the new agriculture laws, agitating farmers were prevented in different places in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh from entering Delhi for the two-day scheduled protest. The Congress party supported the farmers’ demand to withdraw the laws or make minimum support price (MSP) a legal right.
Swaraj Abhiyan’s Yogendra Yadav and his supporters were detained by Haryana police at Rewari while finance secretary of All India Kisan Sabha Krishna Prasad was detained at Mandir Marg police station in Delhi. Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh leader Shivkumar ‘Kakkaji’ was also detained in Delhi along with many other farmers.
“Farmers were picked up from Jantar Mantar by police and their whereabouts not known. Many of our youth activists kept at Mayapuri stadium. Farmers from other states who had earlier reached and were staying at a Gurudwara, were picked up from there in the morning so that they could not reach the protest site at Jantar Mantar,” said Ashutosh, spokesperson of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC).
Punjab farmers have been demanding the repeal of the new farm laws. They are asking for the Centre’s laws to be replaced by laws where there is a guarantee on the MSP.
The Centre enacted two new laws giving freedom to farmers and traders to buy and sell at any place including mandis and also amended the archaic Essential Commodities Act, first through Ordinances in June and later by passing corresponding laws in Parliament.
As thousands of farmers from Punjab marched towards Delhi, they were stopped at Haryana border where the state government blocked all entry points including highways to prevent their onward journey. Farmers were seen coming with ration and cooking provisions in tractor trolleys indicating they are prepared for a longer protest rather than two days. Delhi Police earlier had denied permission to hold the protest at any place during November 26-27.
Farmers crossed Shambhu border at Ambala and have crossed Kurukshetra, Pipli Mandi in tens of thousands and are marching towards Delhi, PTI reported. Thousands of tractors and trolleys are carrying farmers, women and children from interior areas of Punjab. Use of water cannon on peaceful protestors in winter nights by police has been condemned by farmer leaders and opposition parties. Haryana government has prevented several such protest marches from the villages by taking into custody many farmer leaders under preventive detention. Still, massive mobilisations were seen at all districts of the state, said Ashutosh.
Some 150-200 farmers from Uttar Pradesh were detained at Noida-Delhi border while another 2,000-odd were stopped at Rampur on the Nainital–Delhi highway. The stand-off continues near Agra, where Medha Patkar, Pratibha Shinde and others were prevented from moving to Delhi. Protests were also held in Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat, AIKSCC said in a statement.
Meanwhile, there is pressure on the Centre to reschedule the December 3 meeting to an earlier date. The Congress party also demanded an immediate dialogue with farmers should start. Last week farmers in Punjab had decided to call off “rail roko” agitation, lifting the two-month-long blockade, following which railways have resumed services to the state.
The metting with farmers have been called by union food secretary where both agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and food minister Piyush Goyal are expected to discuss with farmers. Officials from food and agriculture departments of the Punjab government have also been invited for the talks. In the first round of talks held on November 13 both sides stuck to their stated position resulting in a deadlock.