New Delhi: On the third day of farmers’ protest against the new farm laws, thousands dug in their heels at Delhi’s border points, their numbers swelling through the day as many more farmers joined them, and hundreds gathered at the city’s Burari ground. Also Read - 'Govt Ready to Listen But...' Amit Shah Has One Request From Protesting Farmers in Delhi | WATCH
With many roads and entry points blocked, Union Home Minister Amit Shah appealed to the farmers to shift to the Nirankari ground in North Delhi’s Burari that was offered to them for peaceful protests and said the Centre is ready to hold discussions with them as soon as they move to the designated place. Also Read - Farmers Protest: Traffic Movement Hit in Key Roads of Delhi as Police Keep Singhu, Tikri Borders Shut
Here are the latest updates from Day 4 of farmers’ protest:
23:06 PM: BJP chief JP Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting over farmers protest at BJP chief’s residence.
21:21 PM: Farmers’ agitation seems to have been hijacked by ‘anti-national’ forces: BJP leader
The BJP is ready to talk to farmers to address their apprehensions about the new farm laws, but their agitation seems to have been “hijacked by anti-national” forces, the party’s Uttarakhand unit said on Sunday. The BJP also said that Congress and other parties have “misled” farmers on the agriculture sector-related laws.
“Pro-Pakistan and pro-Khalistan slogans are being shouted in the agitation which seems to have been hijacked,” BJP general secretary in-charge of party affairs in Uttarakhand Dushyant Kumar Gautam alleged at a press conference in Dehradun. He also accused Congress and other parties of misleading the farmers.
21:08 PM: Farmers continue their stir at Ghazipur-Ghaziabad (Delhi-UP) border against the farm laws amid security deployment.
19.57 PM: Due to Kisan agitation in Punjab, train movement has been affected and hence, few trains have been diverted and certain trains have been short terminated & accordingly short originated, announced Chief PRO, Western Railways.
19.00 PM: The central government should talk to farmers immediately and unconditionally, says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
17.29 PM: Instead of going to open jail in Burari, we’ve decided that we will gherao Delhi by blocking 5 main entry points to Delhi. We’ve got 4 months ration with us, so nothing to worry. Our Operations Committee will decide everything, says Surjeet S Phul, President, BKU Krantikari (Punjab).
17.07 PM: Former Haryana CM Hooda Tells Centre to Find Solution For Farmers
17.04 PM: Singhu border still closed from both sides. Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba Chowk & GTK road. Traffic is very very heavy. Please avoid outer ring road from signature bridge to Rohini & vice versa, GTK road, NH 44 & Singhu borders: Delhi Traffic Police
16.49 PM: The centre should let go of their stubbornness by inviting farmers for negotiations. The way Haryana govt tried to stop farmers, it has hurt their sentiments. Farmers’ demands are justified and I support them. I urge the centre to find a solution, says Bhupinder S Hooda, Former CM Haryana.
16.03 PM: “I never called the farmers’ protest politically motivated, neither I am calling it now,” says Home Minister Amit Shah in Hyderabad.
15:38 PM: Demonstrators went back to the protest site. The situation is now back to normal.
15:36 PM: Protesters tried to cross the Gazipur border today and broke barricades, resulting in a scuffle with the security forces. The police tried to convince farmers to go back to the protest site.
14:30 PM: Farmers have rejected Home Minister Amit Shah’s offer for talks. Earlier on Saturday, Shah had made it clear that the Centre is “ready to deliberate on every problem and demand” of the farmers, and would hold talks only after the farmers shift to the designated site in Delhi for their protest.
14:00 PM: Farmers continue their protest against the farm laws, at Nirankari Samagam Ground in Burari, the govt designated place for the protest. “Our leaders are holding a meeting. We will follow whatever they decide,” says an agitating farmer.
12.35 pm: Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) offer food to farmers who have gathered at Singhu border.
12.25 pm: Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain says, “There should not be any condition for talks with farmers. The talks should be held immediately. They are the farmers of our country. They should be allowed to stage their protest where they want.”
12.03 pm: Singhu border is still closed from both sides, tweets Delhi Traffic Police.
12 noon: A meeting of farmers is currently underway at Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana) as they continue their protest against the new farm laws.
10.48 am: Tikri border has been closed for any traffic movement in view of farmers’ protest.
10.45 am: Farmers continue their protest against the farm laws at Singhu border.
10.33 am: Shiv Sena says farmers have been treated like terrorists
“The way farmers have been stopped from entering Delhi, it looks like as if they don’t belong to this country. They have been treated like terrorists. Since they are Sikh and have come from Punjab and Haryana, they’re being called Khalistani. It is insult to farmers,” says Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut.
10 am: Commuters headed towards the national capital from other states say they’re facing problems due to road blockade at Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border). “We are facing many problems due to the protest. There is no vehicle for steady communication,” says a commuter.
9.54 am: Farmers protesting against the farm laws stay put at Tikri border amid police deployment.
9.30 am: Security personnel stay put at Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) as farmers’ protest continues.
“They (agitating farmers) are sitting peacefully & have been cooperating till now. Our objective is to maintain law & order & to ensure that the arrangements are in place to facilitate their movement,” says Surendra Yadav, Joint CP, Northern Range, Delhi.
9.05 am: Farmers continue their protest against the farm laws at Ghaziabad-Delhi border. Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait says, “Protests happen at Ramlila ground, then why should we go to Nirankari Bhawan, a private facility? We will stay put here today”.
8.30 am: Farmers at Ghaziabad-Delhi border say do not accept the government’s proposal and will not go to the allotted ground in Burari. “Today, we will go to Delhi and stage our protest either near Parliament or at Jantar Mantar,” a farmer said.
7.20 am: Security personnel stay put at Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) as farmers’ protest continues.
Govt says ready for talks, farmers refuse to move to protest site | Day 3 Highlights:
Amit Shah said a delegation of the farmers has been invited for discussion on December 3, adding now that some of their unions have demanded that talks be held immediately, the central government is ready to do so as soon as the protestors shift to the ground in Burari.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh termed Shah’s offer to hold discussions at the earliest as the best in the interest of the farming community and the nation at large. He urged the farmers to accept the appeal and shift to the designated place for their protest.
After a restive Friday that saw police using teargas shells, water cannons and multi-layer barriers to block the protesters and some farmers pelting stones and breaking barricades in their determination to push through as part of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, it was a quieter Saturday.
But the tension persisted with restless crowds milling around Delhi’s edges and beyond and settling down from another night out in the cold.
Though there was no clear roadmap, the farmers, belonging to multiple groups, including 30 from Punjab, appeared clear in their resolve, some saying that they would not disperse till the laws were repealed and others that would ensure their voices are heard. They were mostly from Punjab and Haryana but also from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
“Tomorrow, there will be another meeting at 11 am. Till then, we are at Singhu,” said Baljeet Singh Mahal, the Jalandhar unit president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union Kadia.
We have still not decided on going to the Burari ground. We will have a meeting in the evening to decide the next course of action, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal told PTI over the phone.
Another faction, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of the largest farmer organisations in Punjab, agreed that they would not go to Burari. The faction’s leaders claimed that over one lakh farmers, including elderly women, were marching towards the national capital in tractor-trailers, buses and other vehicles.
Numbers swelled at the Singhu border point, one of the main access points into the capital from Punjab, and at Tikri a few kilometres away.
“We will continue to protest here. We will not move from here. Several other farmers are yet to join us from Haryana. They are on their way,” said Sukhwinder Singh, who had been camping at Tikri since Friday evening. He was clear in his ask.
“We want to go to Jantar Mantar and hold a peaceful demonstration there. Meetings are being held, and until the next course of decision is taken, we will continue to protest here at the border peacefully.”
Jagtar Singh Bhagiwander, another farmer at Tikri, said the effort was to separate the groups.
“Yesterday, soon after we were granted permission to enter Delhi, we were told to move ahead in groups of 50 people one after the other. If we have come together all the way crossing different borders, we will continue to stay united,” he said.
The farmers came prepared for a long haul, their vehicles loaded with rations, utensils, quilts and blankets for the cold and equipped with even charging points for their phones.
We will not return till the Centre scraps the new farm laws, a protesting farmer said.
Some farmers from Uttar Pradesh gathered at the Ghazipur border too, ready to join in. Elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh, over 500 farmers staged a sit-in at the Jhansi-Mirzapur National Highway in Kulpahad to demand the rollback of the three laws.
Though many groups were unwilling to go to Burari, hundreds of farmers did make their way to the ground where the government had allowed them.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern range) Surender Singh Yadav told reporters that around 600 to 700 farmers had reached Burari and hoped that more would go.
Among those at Burari was Bhuvan Singh Yadav, who started his journey on November 24 from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh via Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, along with several other members of the All India Krishak Khet Majdoor Sangathan (AIKKMS).
We were stopped by the UP police at the Rajasthan-UP border on a bridge, but we did not go back. We continued to protest on the bridge, even when it started raining in this cold. Eventually the police had to give in, he said.
Hum sawaal lekar aayein hain, aur jawaab lekar jaenge, (We came with a question and will return with an answer), he said.
Slogans such as Dharti Mata Ki Jai , Narendra Modi Kisan Virodhi and Inquilab Zindabad could be heard from different parts of the vast, dusty ground. As some farmer leaders gave speeches, farmers danced to drumbeats and the strains of “Hum Honge Kaamyab” could also be heard.
Amid the cheerful cacophony, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti struck up a chorus of Chahe Kuch Bhi Karlo Hum Badhte Jaenge .
The unprecedented unity of the farmers will put pressure on the government to withdraw the three anti-farmer acts, social activist Medha Patkar, who was at Burari with a group of men and women, told NDTV.
She said it was a decentralised movement and the protest was against the vulgar inequity in the country.
The three farm laws are – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation); The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance; and Farm Services and The Essential Commodities (Amendment).
Farmers say they are apprehensive that the laws will pave way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
As the issue snowballed, Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar alleged that some political parties and organisations are sponsoring the farmers’ stir against the Centre’s farm laws.
Hitting out at Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Khattar alleged that officials in the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office are giving directions to the protesting farmers from Punjab.
He also claimed Haryana farmers had not participated in the stir and thanked them for it.
Haryana Police has booked state BKU chief Gurnam Singh Charuni and several farmers on attempt to murder, rioting, causing obstruction in government duty and other charges for violations during their “Delhi Chalo” march, officials said.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi claimed whoever protests against the Modi government is “deemed a terrorist”.
Former party chief Rahul Gandhi referred to a photograph of a soldier lifting his hand in an apparent move to hit an elderly Sikh farmer during the clash at a border on Friday and said on Twitter, “This is a very sad photo. Our slogan was ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’, but today a soldier is standing against the farmer due to PM Modi’s arrogance. This is very dangerous.”