Farmers plan tractor rally to block Delhi-Jaipur highway tomorrow
Thousands of farmers from Rajasthan have planned to take out a tractor rally to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway on Sunday in protest of the central government's new agricultural laws. The farmers have also planned a hunger strike in Delhi from Monday. The development comes days after the farmers—who seek a complete rollback of the laws—had rejected the government's proposal for legal amendments.
Sanyukta Kisan Andolan leader Kamal Preet Singh Pannu said protesting farmers will start a tractor march from Rajasthan's Shahjahanpur at 11 am on Sunday and will block the Delhi-Jaipur highway. Thousands of police personnel were deployed on the Delhi-Gurugram border and in Faridabad to block the movement of protesters. The protesters will also stage a hunger strike from 8 am-5 pm on Monday.
Protesting farmers, backed by the Bharatiya Kisan Union, have already occupied several toll plazas in Haryana, overpowering the staff and allowing vehicles to pass toll-free since Friday midnight. According to Agence France-Presse, some farmers were detained on the Delhi-Agra expressway.
For months, farmers have protested against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified two 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the reforms would increase the farmers' income. On Saturday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting with farmer leaders from Haryana in Delhi. Tomar said the farmers have submitted a memorandum supporting the three farm laws. "They also shared their experiences on how these laws are benefitting them," he said.
On Wednesday, the protesters had rejected the government's proposal to amend the farm laws and announced plans to intensify their protest. The government on Friday said the protesters are being misled by "Leftist and Maoist" elements. However, the farmers refuted these claims, accusing the government of attempting to defame them. The ruling BJP has now planned a massive nationwide campaign, NDTV reported.