Farmers in Punjab and Haryana on January 13 burnt copies of the recent Central farm laws in “Lohri bonfire” as a mark of protest and shouted slogans against the Union government even as several batches of farmers in tractor-trolleys continued to head for Delhi to participate in a proposed Republic Day ‘tractor parade’ against the laws.
The farmers, including women, under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), UP, UP Workers’ Front, Bundelkhand Kisan Union, Mazdoor Kisan Manch, Kisan Mahasabha, Bhartiya Kisan Union- Bhanu group and Sangtin Kisan Mazdoor Sangthan held protests at several places and burnt copies of new agri laws.
Brij Bihari general secretary of Mazdoor Kisan Manch said “We burnt the copies of the farm laws as a mark of protest against these draconian laws,” adding that until the Centre accepts all the demands of farmers, their agitation will continue.
Sarvan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the KMSC, said that another batch of thousands of farmers and farm labourers from Punjab on their tractor-trolleys have started a journey for Delhi to join the proposed Republic day ‘tractor parade’.
He said “Thousands of farmers and farm labourers are on their way and they will reach Singhu-Kundli border by January 14 morning. The farmers are marching on tractor-trolleys, two-wheelers, cars, vans etc,”.
However, the government on the other hand maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.
As on Wednesday farmer’s agitation entered 50th day on Wednesday.
With the next round of talks between farmers and the Centre scheduled for January 15, minister of state for agriculture Parshottam Rupala said that dialogue is the only way forward to resolve the deadlock.
Mr Rupal said on Wednesday that “It is only through dialogue that a way forward can be found,”
Farmers unions have also shown willingness to attend the scheduled ninth round of talks but have insisted on a complete repeal of the farm laws.
The agitating farmers’ on Wednesday received a boost as a delegation of 1,000-odd Kerala farmers aligned with the All India Kisan Sabha’s Kerala unit decided to join the agitation at Delhi border on Thursday.
This will be the first delegation from Kerala to participate in the sit-in. The delegation is led by former Rajya Sabha MP and senior CPI(M) leader K.N. Balagopal.
“It is the government’s propaganda that only Punjab farmers are impacted by the three laws. The truth is these laws will affect each and every farmer of the country,” Mr Balagopal said.
In a related development, Haryana’s deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala — who is under pressure from the agitating farmers — met the Prime Minister to discuss the protests in the state. The meeting came a day after Mr Chautala and chief minister Manoharlal Khattar had met home minister Amit Shah and later reiterated that the state government was under no threat.
Mr Chautala, whose Jananayak Janata party (JJP) lends support to BJP government in Haryana is learnt to have said after the meeting that there is no threat to the state government.
-Davinder Singh, NMTV News