Farmers Plan Next Steps Amid Deadlock, Round 3 Talks With Centre Tomorrow


Farmers protests: he entry to Delhi from the Delhi-Meerut Expressway has been blocked.

40 farmer leaders are holding a meeting at one of the Delhi-Haryana borders to discuss follow-up actions after Thursday’s meeting with the government failed to end the deadlock over the contentious new farm laws. The farmer representatives stuck to their demand for the repeal of the laws and even refused lunch, tea and water offered to them during almost seven-hour-long meeting in central Delhi. The third round of meeting with the centre will be held tomorrow. Farmer leaders have also given a call for a nation-wide protest tomorrow. The protest – the biggest by farmers in years – has entered the ninth day.

Here are the top 10 updates on farmers’ protest:

  1. Several roads leading to Delhi continue to be blocked with farmers camped out at four busy border points of the national capital – Singhu, Noida, Ghazipur and Tikri –  to press their demands, under heavy police deployment. 

  2. The entry to Delhi from the Delhi-Meerut Expressway has been blocked as farmers from different parts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand continue their sit-in.  Another key route in east Delhi, connecting the capital to Noida, too has been partially closed for the fourth  straight day to the protests. The DND flyway and the Sarita Vihar road are the alternate routes to Noida that are open.

  3. At Thursday’s meeting, the farmers’ representatives made a 39-point presentation on the inadequacies of the contentious new farm laws, after which the government gave its views.

  4. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who led the talks at  Vigyan Bhawan on Thursday, said the government “has no ego” and that it was discussing the issues raised by farmers with an open mind. “The government will discuss points that emerged at the meeting on Friday and hopes that talks will move towards finality when the next round of discussions is held on Saturday,” the minister said.

  5. Farmer union leaders, who came out of the meeting venue shouting slogans, said the talks remained deadlocked and some of them threatened to boycott any further meetings if no solution was found at Thursday”s meeting. “Discussions are over from our side. Our leaders have said they will not attend further meetings if a solution is not given today by the government,” said Pratibha Shinde of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha.

  6. “The government did propose amendments to the laws but farmers unions still insisted on taking these laws back,” said Kavitha Kuruganti, a leader of the farmers’ group All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee.

  7. Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a former ally of the BJP-led NDA, questioned the government, saying half the protest of farmers will be over if the minimum price guaranteed by the government (MSP) is made a right by law. Accusing the government of making an unilateral decision and pushing through the laws, she said the government should now “back off from its rigid stand”.

  8. On Thursday, Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in protest against the government’s “betrayal of farmers”. Sahitya Akademi Award winners from Punjab – renowned poet Mohanjit, story writer Jaswinder and playwright Swarajbir who is also Editor of Punjabi Tribune – also returned their awards.

  9. At least three deaths have been recorded during these protests and the farmers said it would be “inhuman” on the centre’s part – given the cold weather – to drag this out any further.

  10. Thousands of farmers, who have braved water cannons, tear gas and police barricades, began their protest last week against the farm laws, aimed at doing away with middlemen and allowing them to sell produce anywhere in the country. Farmers say the laws will deprive them of the minimum prices fixed by the government and leave them at the mercy of corporates.

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