'Government has until November 26,' Tikait's deadline for farmers' protest
In a fresh warning to the central government, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday said that protests would be intensified further after November 26. This is the Bharatiya Kisan Union leader's second warning to the Centre in two days. Earlier, he had warned that government offices across India will be converted into grain markets if the farmers' demands are not met.
Why does it matter?
- The farmers' protest against three agricultural laws at the border of Delhi will complete a year on November 26.
- While the government describes the laws as "pro-farmer," the protesters have remained adamant in their demand for a complete rollback.
- Despite the growing clamor, the government has been reluctant to repeal the laws and has only offered alterations and assurances instead.
What did Tikait say?
Tikait tweeted Monday, "The central government has until November 26. After November 27, farmers will reach Delhi's borders from their villages on tractors and reinforce the protest and the tents with solid fortifications." Notably, farmers have been camping at Delhi's borders for nearly a year.
'Will turn government offices into mandis'
Monday's warning came a day after Tikait had warned the Centre that farmers would turn all government offices into grain markets if the government tried to forcibly remove farmers from Delhi's borders. "If the farmers fail to sell their produce in mandis (markets) at a fair price, then what better place to do so than the government offices?" Tikait had said.
Protest site barricades removed
Tikait's warnings came after the Delhi Police reportedly started removing barricades from the Tikri and Ghazipur borders to smoothen traffic movement. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had observed that highways cannot be blocked indefinitely as it heard petitions against the protest. The farmer leaders informed the court that the blockade was installed by the police.
Why are the farmers protesting?
Farmers have been protesting against three agricultural laws for over a year. The laws were passed last September last year. Critics say the laws would take away minimum support prices for crops and corporatize agriculture. There is also pushback over the removal of the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) Despite several rounds of talks between the Centre and farmer leaders, resolution remains far-fetched.