Arvind Kejriwal tears copies of farm laws in Delhi Assembly
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday tore copies of the contentious farm laws in a special Assembly session. Kejriwal also urged the Centre "not to become worse than Britishers." Thousands of farmers are camping at Delhi's borders demanding a complete rollback of the laws. Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court allowed the farmers to protest but withheld them from blocking access to Delhi.
Kejriwal questioned why the central government passed the farm laws in a hurry in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He added, "The government is saying they are reaching out to farmers and trying to explain the benefits of the farm bills...The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister told farmers they will benefit as their land won't be taken away. Is that a benefit?"
Kejriwal then said, "I hereby tear the three farm laws in this Assembly and appeal the Centre not to become worse than the Britishers." Earlier, two legislators of Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Somnath Bharti and Mohinder Goyal, had also torn copies of the laws.
For months, farmers have protested against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified three weeks ago as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, braving a police crackdown. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of Minimum Support Prices (MSPs), leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations.
The AAP has supported the protests and even provided them with basic infrastructure, including water, sanitation, and medical care. The AAP-led Delhi government has passed legislation designed to counter the Centre's laws. Earlier, Punjab and Rajasthan—both states ruled by the Indian National Congress party—had moved resolutions against the farm laws. Kejriwal also highlighted reports that over 20 protesters have died since the protests began.
On a related note, while hearing a batch of petitions concerning the farmers' protest, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that the protesters can't be allowed to block access to Delhi. Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde said the protests can continue without violence, adding that the "police will not do anything." However, the court refused to consider the validity of the laws.