Farmers firm on holding tractor rally on Outer Ring Road
Farmers protesting against the central government's agricultural laws are adamant about staging a tractor rally on Delhi's Outer Ring Road on Republic Day (January 26). The Supreme Court had earlier refused to interfere in the matter while hearing a plea from the Centre seeking directions to restrain farmers from holding the rally to "disrupt" Republic Day celebrations. Here are more details.
Krantikari Kisan Union's Darshan Pal was quoted as saying by ANI on Thursday, "The government has said that the tractor parade on Republic Day cannot be conducted on Delhi's Outer Ring Road due to security reasons. We are clear that we will conduct the tractor parade there only." "After tomorrow's meeting with the Centre, we will hold another meeting with the police," Pal said.
Several farmer unions have decided to hold a tractor rally in Delhi during the Republic Day celebrations, which feature a parade showcasing India's military might and cultural diversity. The farmers have said that their plan is not to disrupt the parade but to voice their protest against the contentious agricultural laws. On Wednesday, the farmers had staged a rehearsal for the rally in Gurugram.
While hearing the Centre's plea against the rally, the Supreme Court had refused to issue orders, observing that the Delhi Police had the power to issue orders against the rally. Earlier on Thursday, Delhi Police Joint Commissioner of Police SS Yadav had gone to the Mantram Resort near the Singhu border to meet farmers on their tractor rally plan.
Meanwhile, the Centre had held the tenth round of talks with farmer leaders on Wednesday, where it proposed to suspend the agricultural laws for 18 months. The government also proposed the formation of a committee on Minimum Support Prices and the laws. The government said it would implement the committee's recommendations, according to farmers. The next round of talks will be held on Friday.
For months, farmers have been protesting against the three farm laws passed in September. The protests intensified in November-end as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, camping at the city's borders. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of Minimum Support Prices, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations.