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Published On: Sun, Dec 13th, 2020

Farmer Leaders, to Observe 9-Hour Hunger Strike Tomorrow

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farmer-leadersNEW DELHI : The heads of all farmer unions protesting against the Centre’s new agri reform laws for over two weeks now will observe a one-day hunger strike on Monday, farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni said.
The hunger strike from 8 am to 5 pm on Monday is part of the farmers’ plan to intensify their agitation from December 14. Addressing a press conference at Singhu border, where the farmers have been camping in agitation, Chaduni said the leaders will observe the hunger strike at their respective places.

“Also dharnas will be staged at all district headquarters across the country. The protest will go on as usual,” he told reporters. “There are groups that are ending protest and saying they are in favour of laws passed by the government. We want to clarify that they are not associated with us.
They have been hand-in-gloves with the government, they conspired to sabotage our protest. The government is hatching a conspiracy to derail the ongoing farmers’ protest,” added Chaduni.
Farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said “government agencies have been stopping farmers from reaching Delhi, but the protest will continue till their demands are met”. “Our stand is clear, we want the three farm laws repealed. All farmer unions participating in this movement are together,” he said.
Another farmer leader, Rakesh Tikait, said, “If the government gives another proposal for talks, our committee will decide on it. Farmer unions, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, say that the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system under which government agencies buy their crop at an assured price.

The unions, however, are demanding complete rollback of the central laws and have threatened to intensify their agitation. Thousands of farmers have been staying put at Delhi border points — Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and Chilla (Delhi-Noida) — for two weeks against the laws.
On Thursday, the government had asked farmer groups to reconsider its proposals for amending the Acts to address their concerns and said it was open to discussing its offer further whenever the unions want, but protesters remained defiant.

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had on Friday said some “anti-social elements” were conspiring to spoil the atmosphere of the farmers’ movement and appealed to the protesting farming community to be vigilant against their platform being misused.
Meanwhile, The Delhi-Jaipur highway has been partially opened after a three-hour closure that started as farmers began a tractor march from Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border as part of their escalating 18-day protest against the Centre’s contentious farm laws.
A highway was opened as farmers removed blockade from the Delhi-Noida border at Chilla. Thousands of farmers on way to Delhi, meanwhile, reached the Rewari border of Haryana, where the police blocked both sides of the Delhi-Jaipur highway to stop them from entering the state.
The farmers’ march from Rajasthan had started in the morning from Shahjahanpur, which is around 120 km from Delhi. The group of 800-900 are being led by Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav. Social activist Medha Patkar is also accompanying the group.

Asked about the failed negotiations between the government and the farmers, Mr Yadav said: “It is a strange negotiation. They are forcing a ‘gift’, which is unwanted in the first place. PM says it is a ‘historic gift’. Farmers refuse it. Then PM says, ‘We will change the wrapping of the gift’. But farmers are still saying they don’t want it. The PM needs to think about the welfare of the farmers, repeal the laws.”
The marching farmers have stopped at Rewari on the Haryana border, where the police have put up blockades. Unlike Punjab farmers, they are not carrying any provisions. But that has not been an impediment so far, as the locals have started a supply line of food and drinks, ferrying them in trucks to the protesters.
The Rashtriya Loktantric Party – which has a large support base among Jat farmers in Nagaur district – said its chief Hanuman Beniwal has gone to the border to join the protest but “decided to give more time to the Centre after a missive from the BJP’s central leadership”.
(With Inputs from the State Bureau).
(Pic: Indian Express )

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