Farmers mark 7 months of protest, Minister urges 'end it'
The farmers' protest in India, which began last November, today completes seven months. Protesting farmers have planned to visit offices of State Governors across the country and submit memorandums. They said they would observe Saturday as "Save Agriculture, Save Democracy Day." Meanwhile, the Union Minister for Agriculture has appealed to farmers to conclude their agitation. Here are more updates on this.
"We will submit memorandums to Governors (for repeal of new farm laws) across the country today. The movement will remain peaceful," Gaurav Tikait, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) youth wing president, said. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the protest, said it will send a memorandum to the President of India, urging him to get the new farm laws repealed.
Farmers have also planned a "tractor rally" on June 26. Under their plan, hundreds of farmers would travel via tractors from BKU headquarters in Sisauli to Ghaziabad on Saturday. "The farmers on the way to UP Gate through the national highway have been instructed not to disrupt the traffic and maintain discipline," Gaurav Tikait reportedly said.
Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed for security in view of the protest. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had also shut three metro stations today for four hours - Vishwavidyalaya, Civil Lines, and Vidhan Sabha. In fact, media reports suggest Pakistan-based groups may attempt to sabotage the farmers' protest by "instigating" security officials. The reports cited alerts issued by intelligence agencies.
Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Agriculture Minister, today urged farmers to end their agitation, adding the government is open to discuss any provision of the laws. "I want to tell all the farmers union people that they should end their agitation. The Government of India is also ready to discuss and redress any provision of law," Tomar tweeted this morning.
मैं सभी किसान यूनियन के लोगों को कहना चाहता हूँ कि उनको अपना आंदोलन समाप्त करना चाहिए।— Narendra Singh Tomar (@nstomar) June 26, 2021
भारत सरकार कानून के किसी भी प्रावधान पर बात करने के लिए भी तैयार है और उसका निराकरण करने के लिए भी तैयार है। pic.twitter.com/VUxrAh8MZl
Thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi's borders to protest against three new agricultural laws. They are demanding a complete withdrawal of the laws and multiple rounds of discussions between them and the government have failed to end the agitation. The Centre says the reforms will uplift farmers, while they argue that the laws will make them vulnerable to big corporates.
The three controversial laws are: Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. They were passed by the Indian Parliament last September.