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Farmers’ protest: How the tractor parade went awry


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 26

A tractor march meant to highlight farmers’ demands resulted into violence by a section of protesters. Here’s how the day unfolded: 

10:00 am: Farmers break barricades at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur Borders to enter Delhi’s arterial roads; this even though the R Day Parade was on. The agreement with the police was that the police will remove the barricades once the R Day parade ends

10:30 pm: Farmers at Ghazipur Border break the first barricade at Ghazipur check point and move in towards Delhi violating the route agreement under which they were to take a U turn towards Anand Vihar and return to the highway.

11:00 am: Farmers at Ghazipur break the second barrier at Noida Link Road and move past Akshardham towards central Delhi ITO, saying “we will conquer the Red Fort.

11:15 am: Ghazipur Border was the most volatile with section of farmers using tractors to break concrete barricades; some Nihangs flashed swords at cops but were prevented by other protesters

12:00 pm: Farmers from across all borders mainly Ghazipur reach ITO, clash with police to march towards India Gate and Red Fort. Police lob tear gas shells. Farmers flash steel rods and swords

1:00 pm: Some farmers speed their tractors stopping short of ramming into cops; police deployment increased at ITO after R-Day parade ends

1:15 pm: Several tractors and farmers break police cordons to move towards Red Fort; a farmer dies at ITO after a speeding truck he was driving turns turtle

2:00 pm: Thousands of farmers storm the Red Fort, some climb the flagstaff to unfurl a saffron flag, park all around the Fort

2:10: Rahul Gandhi tweets against the violence but seeks repeal of farm laws

2:30 pm: Clashes at ITO continue as farmers continue to enter Delhi

2:37 pm: BKU’s Rakesh Tikait asks farmers to return to pre decided routes but to no avail

2:50 pm: Farm union leader Yogendra Yadav issues a video appeal for calm

3:00 pm: Home Ministry invokes the Telegraph Act to suspend internet at Singhu, Tikri and Nangloi areas

3:15 pm: Thousands of farmers break Tikri barricades to pour into Delhi.

3:45 pm: Samyukta Kisan Morcha dissociates from the vandals.

4:00 pm: High level government meeting starts to decide on ways to tackle the siege of the capital. Home Minister chairing, orders additional forces in the city.





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Locals perch on rooftops, balconies to witness unprecedented farmers’ tractor parade


New Delhi, January 26

It was a never seen before moment for thousands of people who gathered at roadsides and perched on the rooftops and balconies watching the tractor parade taken out by farmer unions on Tuesday in protest against the Centre’s farm laws.

The parade taken out from Tikri, Singhu, Ghazipur and other border points of the national capital received a warm welcome with locals showering flower petals, offering food and water and greeting them with slogans and cheers.

“I have never seen a tractor parade such as this. This is New India for me. I am recording this for my grandchildren who are too little to understand its importance now. I am sure they will thank me for this later,” said Anita Batwal, 62, retired school teacher.

Many bystanders who witnessed the parade termed the farmers their brothers and guests who were fighting for their rights.

“My husband and I have come to welcome them. They are our guests. We lost our land in UP in a court battle, we know their pain,” said Kamla from Boodhpur Delhi.

A large number of people near Anand Vihar railway station lined the roadsides and recorded the tractor parade as farmers from Ghazipur drove past. People cheered and waved at the farmers riding tractors and those walking on foot.

“It is bigger and better than what we expected. Local people cheering for us throughout the route has motivated us further. We will take what is our. Ab Delhi door nahi,” said 23-year-old Jaspal Singh from Gurdaspur in Punjab, taking part in the parade.

Local people showered flower petals at the cavalcade of tractors and other vehicles passing through Mundka village and offered food and water to the farmers.

“They are our brothers. Will do whatever it takes to help them in their struggle. They are fighting for all of us. This is just a little contribution from our end to tell them we stand by them,” said Chant Singh, 45, a local distributing food and water.

The whole nation, in fact people across the world should know about this “farmers’ revolution” taking place here in Delhi, said 32-year-old Jaskaran Bajwa who was busy making Facebook Live while sitting atop a brand new tractor.

 The people as well as the farmers recorded the parade using cellphones, with many saying history was being scripted. PTI





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My heart is with farmers on Republic Day: Amarinder


Patiala, January 26

Asserting that his heart was with the farmers amid the Republic Day celebrations, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the Centre had deliberately kept Punjab out of the high-powered committee initially as they knew that the voices of protest would rise from here, and declared that “these voices will continue to rise” till the farmers’ interests are secured.

Punjab was included in the committee only after he personally wrote to the Centre on the issue, said the Chief Minister, making it clear that neither he nor his government was ever asked or consulted about the Farm Laws.

Appealing to the Prime Minister to fulfil the demands of the agitating farmers, who are sitting at Delhi’s borders for the past two months, the Chief Minister said the Farm Laws are “completely wrong as they are against federalism since Agriculture is a State subject under Schedule 7 of the Indian Constitution.”

Unfurling the Tricolour here at Raja Bhalindra Singh sports complex, the Chief Minister recalled the contribution of Baba Saheb BR Ambedkar, who had drafted the Constitution which remains the bedrock of the nation’s governance till date.

Hoping that the Tractor March of the farmers today passes off as peacefully as their agitation so far has been, the Chief Minister said: “old farmers are sitting at the borders of the national capital not for themselves but for their children and the future generations.” Declaring that his government was with the farmers, he said, “Be peaceful, and the country is with you.” He noted that 122 MPs in the UK had spoken in favour of the farmers and other countries had also supported the protests as the farmers had been peaceful all along.

Captain Amarinder lamented that he never thought he would see a day when Punjab’s farmers, who had made the nation self-sufficient in food by ushering in the green revolution and ensured that India never needed to beg for food under America’s PL 480, would be forgotten in this manner. At one time, Punjab farmers were contributing 50% to the food basket, and even now contribute 40% of the total foodgrain, the Chief Minister said, adding that “we can never forget what they have done for our country.”

With production now being carried out also in Ganga, Narmada and Kaveri basins, the farmers of Punjab were being sidelined, said the Chief Minister, adding, “God forbid a day will come that Punjab would be needed by the nation again.” Not once did the Congress, which had been providing MSP since, indicated that it would ever be withdrawn or talked about winding up FCI, he said, pointing out that with the PDS system depending on government procurement, the poor would also suffer if the new Farm Laws are not repealed.

Pointing out that 20% of India’s Army comprised Punjabis, the Chief Minister slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre for not bothering about the families of Punjab’s jawans fighting on the fronts to protect the country. Punjab’s soldiers are posted at all fronts, safeguarding the borders, he said, adding that the nation needs to be prepared to meet the multiple threats posed by the collective power of China and Pakistan.

Despite Punjab’s size being reduced drastically in the Partition and then the state’s reorganisation, it had stood for the nation always, and will continue to do so, he added.

Lauding the state’s farmers for the record wheat and paddy production amid the pandemic, Captain Amarinder listed out various measures taken by his government for their welfare, notably the loan waiver and abolition of `kurki’. While 5.62 lakh farmers had already been provided debt relief of Rs 4700 crore, 2.82 lakh landless farm labourers will be given relief this year, he announced.





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Republic Day eve address: President backs farm laws; salutes farmers, jawans, scientists


Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 25

President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday saluted the farmers, soldiers and scientists for ensuring food, border and health security of all Indians and backed the farm reform legislations terming them “much awaited”.

In his 72nd Republic Day address to the nation, the President said the government’s commitment to farmers’ welfare remains undoubted.

Hailing the farmers for making India self-reliant in food grains and dairy products and sustaining agricultural production despite COVID 19, the President said a “grateful nation is fully committed to the welfare of our farmers”.

He went on to back the agriculture reform laws noting that economic reforms have continued apace and have been supplemented by long-pending reforms in the areas of labour and agriculture through legislation.

“The path to reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions. However, it is beyond doubt that the government remains singularly devoted to farmers’ welfare,” said the President amid a raging agitation by farmers who will take out a tractor parade against farm laws tomorrow.

The President in his address spoke of brave soldiers of the armed forces who ensure the security of national boundaries amid severest conditions.

“From the freezing cold at Siachen and Galwan Valley in Ladakh with temperatures as low as minus 50 to 60 degree Celsius to the scorching heat in Jaisalmer with temperatures as high as 50 degree Celsius – on land, in the skies and at the vast coastal areas – our warriors are vigilant every moment. Every citizen feels proud about the bravery, patriotism and the spirit of sacrifice among our soldiers,” said the President, hailing Indian scientists for strengthening national endeavours and especially for decoding the coronavirus and developing vaccines in record time.

Urging every Indian to take the vaccine once their time comes, the President said 2020 should be taken as a year of learning.

Saluting doctors, administrators and other COVID warriors who helped keep the fatality rate lower in India compared to the developed countries, the President said, “Our farmers, soldiers and scientists deserve special appreciation and a grateful nation greets them.”

On the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19, the President said an effective response to the pandemic would not have been possible without the constitutional value of ‘Fraternity’ among the people of the country.

He also took pride in the fact that India was called as “pharmacy of the world” for supplying medicine to several countries to contain sufferings across the globe.

He felt that after about a year of this “unforeseen ordeal”, India today stands “not despondent but confident”.                 

Paying tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh last June during clashes with the Chinese troops, the President said the past year “was a time of adversity, and it came from many fronts”.                  

“We faced an expansionist move on our borders, but our valiant soldiers foiled it. To achieve this objective, 20 of them had to lay down their lives.”                 

Kovind said the nation shall remain grateful to those brave soldiers.

“Though we reiterate our commitment to peace, our defence forces – Army, Air Force and Navy – are adequately mobilised in a well-coordinated move to thwart any attempt to undermine our security. Our national interest will be protected at all costs. We have also ensured a widespread understanding in the international community of India’s firm and principled stand,” the President said.

India and China are locked in a nearly nine-month long military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

He said adversity often plays the role of a great teacher and makes people stronger and more confident. With that confidence, India has taken great strides in several sectors.

“Economic reforms have continued apace and have been supplemented by long-pending reforms in the areas of labour and agriculture through legislation. The path to reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions. However, it is beyond doubt that the government remains singularly devoted to farmers’ welfare,” he added.

Kovind said India is moving ahead and taking its rightful place in the world.

“During the recent years, its arc of influence has been expanding and encompassing the larger part of the world. The manner in which India got overwhelming support of the international community for its entry as non-permanent member in the Security Council this year is indicative of that influence.”    

He said the engagement with world leaders has enhanced manifold and India, with its vibrant democracy, has rightfully earned its respect as a responsible and trustworthy nation. — With PTI





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Farmers’ tractor rally: Delhi Police asks commuters to avoid affected routes on Republic Day


New Delhi, January 25 

The Delhi Traffic Police on Monday asked commuters to avoid routes where protesting farmers will conduct their tractor parade on Republic Day.

The farmers’ tractor rally will be taken out on Tuesday from three borders of the national capital, and the traffic will remain affected on these routes, police said.

“The first rally will start from Singhu Border to Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, DTU, Shahabad Dairy, Barwala Village, Pooth Khurd Village, Kanjhawala T-Point, Kanjhawala Chowk, Kutubgarh, Auchandi Border and Kharkhoda Toll Plaza.

“The traffic going towards NH-44 and GT Karnal Road will be diverted from Singhu Shani Mandir, Ashok Farm/Janti Tall, Hamidpur, Sunderpur Majra, Zindopur Mukhmelpur, Kadipur, Kushak Colony, Mukarba Chowk and GTK Depot,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Meenu Chowdhary said.

The traffic going towards Bawana Road will be diverted from Jail Road, KNK Marg, G3S Mall, Madhuban Chowk, Rohini East Metro Station, Rithala Chowk, Pansali Chowk, Helipad T-Point, Utsav Road, DSIIDC Road Sector-4, Narela Bawana Road, Chitra Dharam Kanta, DSIIDC roundabout and Jhanda Chowk, police said, adding that the traffic going towards Kanjhawala Road will be diverted from Karala, Kanjhawala Village, Jaunti Toll and Qutubgarh- Garhi Road.

The second rally of farmers will start from Tikri Border and pass through Nangloi, Baprola Village and Najafgarh, excluding Phirni Road, Jharoda Border, Rohtak Bypass (Bahadurgarh) and Asoda Toll Plaza, Chowdhary said.

Police said the traffic will be diverted from different points.

Traffic will not be allowed to enter on Rohtak road from Kirari mor and will be diverted towards Mangol puri. It will also be diverted from Ghevra mor towards Khanjawala, they said.

The Ghazipur border rally will reach some parts of NH-24 from where it will take a right turn to Road Number 56, ISBT Anand Vihar, Apsara Border, Hapur Road, Bhopura, IMS College, Lal Kuan and Ghazipur Border, police said.

No commercial vehicles and buses will be allowed on NH-24 and DND from Ring Road. Traffic on NH-24 from Nizamuddin Khatta side will be diverted on Pusta Road near Akshardham and Mother Dairy Road. No traffic will be allowed towards NH-24 from paper market, they said.

No traffic will be allowed towards Road Number 56 from Hasanpur Depot, Patparganj Industrial Area, Ashoka Niketan, Vivekanand Mahila College, ITI College and Ram Mandir Vivek Vihar, police said.

Arrangements have been made to manage traffic on these routes starting Monday evening. Motorists are advised to avoid the routes of ‘kisan tractor rally’, police said.

On Sunday, the Delhi Police had said the farmers’ proposed tractor rally would start after the end of Republic Day celebrations.

Barricades and other security arrangements will be removed and the farmers will enter the national capital. Later, they will return to their destinations after covering a “respectable” distance, police had said.

The Delhi Police has also spoken to their counterparts in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh regarding the arrangements.

Police had said that the tractor rally will be held on January 26 and there will be no disturbance of the Republic Day celebration and security arrangements. The routes will cover over 100 km of distance in the national capital.

The Republic Day parade will start from Vijay Chowk. The wreath laying function at the National War Memorial will take place at 9 am. — PTI





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Farmers’ protest: Delhi police remove boulders from Tikri border


Ravinder Saini

Tribune News Service

Jhajjar, January 24

Two days ahead of Republic Day, the Delhi police on Sunday initiated work to clear the Delhi-Rohtak highway at Tikri border with removing boulders from cranes there. 

The boulders were placed to prevent entry of protesting farmers who have been camping there for the past around two months. The police also lifted the sand dumped on the highway. However, two-layer simple barricading on the border is yet to be removed.

Purushottam Singh Gill, a leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), said the Delhi police had assured to lift the barricading completely before the Republic Day in view of tractor parade to be taken out by protesting farmers on January 26 following the call given by the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha. The route for the tractor parade had been finalised and the parade would be peaceful, he added.

Vikas Sisar, another farmer leader from Haryana, said farmers were enthused over the tractor parade and were gearing up to participate in it. “Volunteers have been roped in to manage the parade. They will be issued identity cards and given special jackets for their recognition,” he added.

Meanwhile, a large number of people from Punjab in buses, cars and tractor-trailers reached Tikri border to join the Tractor parade on Tuesday. Those who have been working in the private sector or doing business have also come here to express solidarity with the farmers.

Jhajjar SP Rajesh Duggal said 25 companies of Paramilitary and Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) along with local police had been deployed at Tikri-Bahadurgarh border and proposed route of the tractor parade to facilitate the farmers and to remove traffic congestion during the tractor parade.

“We have talked to farmers’ leaders who have assured us to take out the tractor parade peacefully,” Duggal added.





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Farmers’ tractor rally on Jan 26 will begin after R-Day celebrations conclude: Delhi police


Mukesh Ranjan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24

Delhi Police on Sunday said it has taken an in-principle decision to allow farmers to hold their proposed tractor rally inside the territory of the national capital on January 26. 

The proposed tractor rally of farmers on Tuesday will begin amid tight security after Republic Day celebrations conclude, the police added.

Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Deependra Pathak while briefing media on the issue said the police will provide ‘fail-proof’ security cover to the rally.

The rally will be conducted in three parts — first from Singhu border having 62 km route, then from Tikri border with around 60 km route and Ghazipur Border with 46 km route. 

The Special CP, however, mentioned about the intelligence inputs suggesting that there are elements, which pose threats to the proposed rally.

He said an analysis of Twitter handles revealed that there are 308 such accounts created in Pakistan which are attempting to create confusion and thus disturbances during farmers’ rally.

Police are working out the details and the security drill for the rally, he said. With PTI inputs





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CM Amarinder knew of agriculture laws since Aug 2019, didn’t inform farmers: AAP


Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, January 24  

Aam Admi Party Delhi MLA and co-incharge of AAP Punjab Raghav Chaddha said on Sunday that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh knew about the farm laws and was privy to the terms of reference of the high-powered committee constitutes to make and discuss the laws in August 2019, yet he remained silent for a year and did not share the information with the state peasantry.

Chadha also said the chief minister knew about the terms of reference clearly mentioned in the office memorandum, which he claimed would mean large scale privatisation and corporatisation of agriculture in the country.

Chadha, who claimed he was sharing information received by his party through an RTI, said Punjab chief minister didn’t oppose the farm laws well in time, when they could have been withdrawn.

Speaking to the press here on Sunday, Chadha said: “Captain Amarinder Singh said he did not have any information regarding the laws and he or the state was not a member of the committee. He also said the finance minister was sent to the formal meeting because it was financial issue. But the RTI makes it clear that as per an office memorandum dated August 7, 2019, that the chief minister was the seventh member of the high powered committee of CMs constituted by the Prime Minister. He was privy to what the laws entailed since August 2019”.

Reading out from the RTI Chadha said, the Prime Minister approved the revised constitution of a High Powered Committee of Chief Ministers for the ‘Transformation of Indian Agriculture’ on August 7, 2019.

Chadha added in the agenda of the committee, the terms of reference included key three points— Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation Act, 2017; Agricultural Produce and Livestock, Contract farming and Services (promotion and Facilitation Act), 2018; and “to examine various provisions of the Essential Commodity Act and situations that require essential commodity act”.

He added: “The further points of the terms of reference also detailed the privatisation of agriculture”.

Chadha said: “This means Capt Amarinder Singh was aware the laws would lead to the breaking of mandis, weakening or finishing of the MSP law and largely the privatisation of agriculture. He was aware the laws would lead to hoarding and the enslavement of farmers but he chose not to speak about them for a year nor inform farmers or farmer unions”. 

“The document was given to every committee member. The AAP questions him why he chose not to tell and prevent the passing of the law? We also ask the CM to share one document with us where you opposed the terms of reference for the laws. If farmers knew the laws, the passing of them could have been stopped beforehand,” he said.

When questioned whether the AAP thinks Punjab chief minister attended the meeting on the laws, Chadha says: “We have not received the minutes of the meeting but since the chief minister was aware of the several points of the terms of the reference of the high powered committee, he clearly knew what the law entailed. And even if we suppose his finance minister attended the meeting at Delhi clearly the CM must have been intimated of what happened”.

The other chief ministers who were members of the high powered committee were then Mahrashtra chief minister Devendra Phadnavis, Haryana’s CM Manohar Lal Khattar, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Tomar and Niti Ayog member Ramesh Chand, AAP said.

 

 





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Punjab, Haryana farmers to set out for tractor parade in Delhi on Saturday


Chandigarh, January 22

After holding rehearsals and preparations for the past few days, several batches of farmers from Punjab and Haryana will set out on Saturday to participate in proposed tractor parade on January 26 in Delhi.

Farmers unions protesting the Centre’s three farm laws had said they would go ahead with their tractor parade in Delhi on the Republic Day. They had announced to take out the tractor parade on the Outer Ring Road in Delhi.

“We all are geared up for participation in a tractor parade. Our first batch will move from Khanauri (in Sangrur) and another from from Dabwali (in Sirsa district),” Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said on Friday.

Also read: Tractor parade to go ahead as planned on Republic Day: Farmer leaders

Considering the kind of enthusiasm among people, over 30,000 tractors owing allegiance to our union will be part of the parade, he said.

Tractors would carry flags of the union and posters with slogans of “Kisan Ekta Zindabad”, “No Farmer No Food” and “Kaale Kannon Radd Karo”, said Kokrikalan.

Kokrikalan said they would also take some trolleys to accommodate women during the tractor parade.

Several women will drive tractors as part of the parade.

Many batches of farmers owing allegiance to different farm bodies would also leave for Delhi on January 24, farmer leaders said on Friday.

Farmer unions have held several tractor rallies across the state to mobilise people and prepare for the proposed parade in the past few days.

Farmers had also announced to display tableaus during the parade to showcase the plight of the farming community, they said.

One such example was seen during a tractor march in Moga on Thursday, where a tableau was mounted on a trolley, showing a farmer ploughing a field with a pair of bullocks.

“Along with bullocks, a model of farm expert MS Swaminathan was also created to seek the implementation of the Swaminathan commission report. We will take this tableau to the tractor parade,” said Moga-based artist Manjit Singh, who made the tableau.

As farmer bodies have given a call for a peaceful tractor parade, farmer unions have issued directions to their village and block-level leadership to ensure discipline during the march.

“Our union’s block-level and village-level leaders will lead the tractor march and rest will follow them,” said Kokrikalan, adding that volunteers would be deployed to keep a check on the situation.

In Haryana, farmers from Karnal, Ambala, Rohtak, Bhiwani and Kurukshetra would leave for Delhi, said farmer leaders.

Meanwhile, ahead of the proposed tractor parade, the demand for flags of different farm bodies has also gone up.

Several vehicles sporting the flags could be seen in Punjab and Haryana. In the wake of the farmers’ agitation and their plan to hold a tractor parade on the Republic Day, the Haryana Police on Thursday decided to cancel the leave of its personnel till further orders.

Senior Haryana Police officers were keeping a close eye on the developments related to the farmers’ stir, police sources said.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been camping at Delhi’s borders for several weeks, demanding the repeal of the farm laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for crops.

They claim that the new laws will weaken the MSP system. But the Centre says the MSP system will remain and the new laws only provide more options for farmers to sell their produce. PTI





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“Misconception That Only Punjab, Haryana Farmers Against Farm Laws”: Hemant Soren


“Misconception That Only Punjab Farmers Against Farm Laws”: Hemant Soren. (FILE)

New Delhi:

Raising questions over the Centre’s offer to suspend the farm laws instead of repealing them, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Thursday said the government is under a “misconception” that only the farmers of Punjab and Haryana are in this “battle” and asserted that tillers across the country want the scrapping of the “repressive” legislations.

He said that if the farmers’ agitation is not dealt with empathetically by the government, it will soon spread to different parts of the country.

In an interview with PTI, Mr Soren also said the impasse between the government and the farmers over the new agri laws was tarnishing India’s image at international forums.

After making the farmers suffer on the streets for months, the central government has suggested to suspend the three contentious farm laws for one and half years instead of repealing them completely, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president said.

“The government is under the wrong impression that only the farmers from Punjab and Haryana are in this battle. They are living with a big misconception. Farmers across the country, be it Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Northeast or any other place, have the same sentiment,” Mr Soren said.

“They (farmers) are all connected to the ground. We have seen similar protests last year on NRC-CAA, which started at the university level but later engulfed the whole country,” he said.

If farmers feel so strongly why doesn’t the government withdraw the laws, asked Soren and alleged that the Centre was showing a “dictatorial attitude”.

The farm agitation if not empathetically dealt with and resolved by the Centre, will soon spread to different parts of the country, he asserted.

“The new farm laws are repressive. They legitimise black marketing and hoarding. I can’t support these laws. How is it possible that the highest offices of the central government can’t figure out a working solution to the demands being put by the protesting farmer bodies in almost two months?” Mr Soren said.

Asked if the Jharkhand government will pass a legislation to nullify the farm laws as done by some states ruled by the Congress, he said his government is closely observing the developments and will wait to see the final decision of the Centre in this regard.

“Farmers feed the people of the country; they are only demanding a fixed Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops. If necessary, we will constitute a high-level committee to look into the matter and recommend a concrete resolution,” he said.

Mr Soren highlighted that his government recently approved a farm loan waiver scheme benefiting over 8 lakh farmers with an initial budget of Rs 2,000 crore and also gave the nod for a crop insurance scheme for farmers.

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“Our government has also increased the MSP for paddy from Rs 1,868 to Rs 2,050 per quintal,” the Jharkhand chief minister said.

Soren”s remarks come a day after the government proposed to suspend the three contentious farm laws for 1-1.5 years and set up a joint committee to find an amicable solution in the interest of the farming community.

During the tenth round of negotiations between three central ministers and protesting farmer unions, the two sides decided to meet again on Friday after the union leaders hold their own internal consultations on Thursday to decide on the government’s new proposal.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the MSP system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the “mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

Mr , who last month completed one year in office, said his government’s priority has been the holistic development of the state to ensure that no section is left behind.

“Immediately after the swearing-in, we approved the decision to withdraw all cases relating to the Pathalgadi movement. In November 2020, the state assembly passed a unanimous resolution recommending the central government for including Sarna adivasi as a separate religion code in Census, 2021,” he said highlighting some of the achievements of his government.

“During the pandemic, we learnt how to deal with a widespread infectious disease and at the same time, gained the trust of the citizens by bringing back stranded workers, running community kitchens, connecting them to MNREGA and other livelihood programmes,” Mr Soren said.

Mr Soren said his government is consistently working to boost the state”s economy as well as livelihoods of people in the wake of the lockdown impact.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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