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‘We don’t need Ayodhya but debt waiver’: Farmers march to Parliament

Thousands of farmers from all across the country began a 2-day protest in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Thursday with demands including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce among others.

Around 10:30 am on Friday, the protesting farmers began their march to the Parliament.

The police have made special arrangements for the protest with 3,500 personnel pressed into service.

Delhi traffic police has issued an advisory.

Gaining support from the Left and a number of farmer groups, they marched to Ramlila Maidan from five different locations.

Here are the big points to this story:

  • Farmers converged in the national capital on Thursday from different corners of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, to participate in the two-day Kisan March.
  • Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many of the farmers came in trains and other packed into buses and other modes of transport.
  • The historic Ramlila Maidan, known for hosting big political events over the years, turned into a sea of red as farmers wearing caps and carrying flags gathered there.
  • Some farmers resonated with slogans like ‘Ayodhya nahi, karz maafi chahiye’ (‘We don’t need Ayodhya but debt waiver’) earlier on Thursday.
  • Battling Delhi’s cold, a group of farmers were heard raising chants of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’.
  • With an edge of anger in his voice, 50-year-old Kartar Singh, sugarcane farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Sambal district, said: “We have not come here to sleep. Farmers have converged in Delhi to remind the Union government that the party leading it had made promises of waiving off loans in its manifesto. And, it’s been four and a half years since they came to power.”
  • On Thursday night, farmers, both men and women, from all parts of India tried to sleep in a chilly night inside tents, while many sat huddled together, discussing the next strategy and family issues.
  • The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Thursday said it supports the farmers’ agitation and urged the entire country to stand up in solidarity with the community as the government has been “insensitive” to their demands.
  • About 1,200 farmers from Tamil Nadu reached the national capital in the early hours of Thursday carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide, National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association leader P Ayyakannu claimed. The group from Tamil Nadu threatened to march naked if they are not allowed to go to Parliament on Friday.
  • The Delhi Jal Board said it will provide the protesting farmers with water tanks and Aam Aadmi Party legislators will give food packets. Snacks and water were provided to farmers by AAP volunteers.
  • Delhi traffic police has issued an advisory.
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