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December 29, 2020 / 11:18 PM IST

Farmers' Protest Highlights | Congress demands legal sanctity to farmers' demands; says bring new laws

Farmers' Protest Highlights: The 'Delhi Chalo' farmers' agitation has entered the 34th day.

Farmers' Protest Highlights: The 'Delhi Chalo' farmers' protest at border points of New Delhi has entered the 34th day today. Thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, are staging a sit-in protest along Delhi borders. The protest started on November 26. The farmers are demanding a complete rollback of the new farm reform laws and a guarantee on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system being retained. Multiple rounds of talks between the Centre and the farmers’ union
leaders have ended in a stalemate. Protesting farmers fear that the new laws will dismantle the MSP system and corporatise farming. Protesting farmer unions agreed "in-principle" to a government proposal for holding the next round of talks on the new agricultural laws on December 30, but insisted the agenda of the meeting should include discussing modalities for repealing the three legislations.
  • December 29, 2020 / 10:12 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Congress demands legal sanctity to farmers' demands; says bring new laws

    Ahead of crucial talks between the Centre and agitating farmers, the Congress on Wednesday demanded legal sanctity to the demands of farmers, including that on ensuring minimum support price. Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders Rajeev Shukla and Govind Dotasra said the government must immediately repeal the three new farm laws and bring fresh ones after incorporating the demands of farmers.

    Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet that the youth, public and farmers are being attacked by the Modi government. "Unemployment has hit the youth, public is facing atrocities on account of inflation and the farmers are attacked with the new laws of 'friends'. This is the Modi government," he tweeted in Hindi, citing a news report that claimed that 35 lakh jobs were taken away in the country in the month of November due to the lockdown.

    Shukla said it was also wrong on the part of the government to dub the farmers agitation as "political". He said the agitation is spread across the country with farmers of various states protesting against the farm laws, adding that it was wrong to say that farmers of only Punjab and half of Haryana were protesting.

    "The government is promising to bring provisions (after accepting the demands of farmers) in the farm laws, but is not giving legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP). We demand that if farmers are ready, MSP should be part of the law and the Parliament should pass them. "The government should ensure that legal sanctity is accorded to the demands of farmers after incorporating them in the new laws that should be passed by Parliament after repealing the present ones," Shukla told reporters.

    The Congress leader also hit out at the Centre for giving "political colour" to the protest. He said political parties, including the Congress and other opposition parties, are supporting the farmers' agitation as they feel for them. "There is no harm if political parties extend their support to help such agitations. We support the 'andolan' and will exert pressure on the government to agree to the demands of farmers, which are just," he said. 


  • December 29, 2020 / 09:29 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Farm leaders must be flexible for a friendly dialogue: MoS Kailash Chaudhary 

    Union minister of state for agriculture and farmers welfare Kailash Chaudhary has appealed to farmers' organisations opposing the new agricultural laws to have a dialogue with the government in a cordial atmosphere by abandoning the condition of seeking a response in either 'yes' or 'no' during the next round of talks on Wednesday.

    The minister is a firm advocate of the new agricultural laws and says that these laws will bring in a major change in the lives of farmers. Chaudhary says the Modi government has enacted these laws for the betterment of farmers.

    The sixth round of talks between leaders of farmers' organisations and the government will be held on Wednesday, seeking withdrawal of new agricultural laws. 


  • December 29, 2020 / 08:28 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Faced unprecedented vilification campaign for helping protesting farmers: Khalsa Aid India chief 

    Khalsa Aid India, an NGO known for providing aid to people in distress, said the “vilification” faced by the organisation for helping their “own people” during the ongoing farmers protest was “unprecedented”.

    Registered separately as a charitable trust in 2013, Khalsa Aid India has been camping from day one of the farmers protest at the two major protest sites of Singhu and Tikri. Initially serving only langars, they shifted attention to the other important needs of the protesting farmers when others too started free community kitchens.

    The NGO is currently running a 600-bed full-to-capacity night shelter along with the two ‘Kisan Malls’ which provide various items of daily use, such as inner wears, thermals, toothbrush and sanitary pads to those in need.


  • December 29, 2020 / 06:03 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Farmers will bring down BJP government: Akhilesh Yadav

    Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said the protesting farmers will bring down the BJP government at the Centre and predicted his own party's victory in the next Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Yadav attacked the government in tweets and at a press conference after Urdu poet Munnawar Rana's daughter Somaiyya Rana, Bahujan Samaj Party's Masood Alam and former MLA Ramesh Gautam joined his party.

    He repeated that the SP is keeping its doors open for smaller parties and will take everyone along. He also referred to West Bengal and accused the BJP of trying to break leaders away from other parties. The BJP government has crossed all limits of injustice and atrocities. Whoever raises their voice, the government muzzles it. Democracy will be safe only when this government goes, the SP chief said. 

    Akhilesh reiterated support to farmers protesting at Delhi's borders against the three new central agri-marketing laws. He accused the central government of putting off a planned round of talks while farmers camped out in bitter cold. 

    The BJP is constantly disrespecting farmers. Farmers will bring the arrogant BJP government down to the street, he tweeted in Hindi. He claimed there had never been so much corruption under any other government, and accused it of harming the economy. Yadav cited the coronavirus lockdown and demonetisation as examples.

    Yadav claimed that over 90 workers died while walking to their homes from the cities during the lockdown, but the government did not help anyone. He accused the BJP of poaching leaders from other parties and instigating fights among them. It is doing the same thing in West Bengal. It did the same in Uttar Pradesh before the assembly elections, he said.


  • December 29, 2020 / 04:02 PM IST

     Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Anti-farm bill demonstration lathi-charged in Patna, several injured: Several people were injured here on Tuesday in a lathi charge at a busy crossing in the heart of the city when police personnel tried to stop a procession, taken out in protest against the farm laws from heading towards the Raj Bhavan. Traffic was thrown out of gear as thousands of protestors, comprising members of various farmers organizations and pro-Left outfits, marched through Frazer Road before they were thwarted at the Dak Bungalow crossing. 

    According to police, the crackdown at Dak Bungalow crossing was preceded by skirmishes between the demonstrators and police and administrative officials at the Gandhi Maidan, the starting point of the rally, where agitators took exception to their entry being allowed inside the sprawling public ground only through one of the many gates.

  • December 29, 2020 / 03:37 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Free WiFi hotspots will be set up at Singhu border for the protesting farmers, AAP leader Raghav Chadha said on Tuesday. Addressing a press conference, he said the decision has been taken by "farmers' 'sevadar Arvind Kejriwal". "We want the farmers to stay in touch with their family. We have identified a few spots to install the WiFi hotspots. This is an initiative of Arvind Kejriwal and the party," Chadha said. He said more such hotspots will be installed if there is more demand.

    Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party have come out strongly in support of protesting farmers. Earlier this month, he had visited Singhu border, one of the protest sites, and reviewed arrangements made for farmers by the AAP-led city government. 

  • December 29, 2020 / 03:33 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | AAP leader Raghav Chadha: Free WiFi hotspots will be set up at Singhu border for protesting farmers (PTI)

  • December 29, 2020 / 03:04 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday directed police to take strict action against vandalisation of mobile towers and disruption of telecom services in the state during the farmers' stir against the agri laws. Asserting that he will not let Punjab plunge into anarchy at any cost and nobody can be allowed to take the law into their hands, the chief minister had said he has been forced to toughen his stance as his repeated appeals to perpetrators of such acts had been ignored.

    In a statement on Tuesday, COAI said telecom services are the lifeline of lakhs of customers, including students taking online classes, professionals working from home, people going for online health consultations in the tough time of COVID-19.

  • December 29, 2020 / 02:35 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Sabotaging telecom infra, disrupting services as form of protest strongly condemned: COAI: Industry body COAI on Tuesday "strongly condemned" the sabotaging of telecom network infrastructure and disruption of services as a form of protest, after over 1,500 mobile towers were targeted during farmers' stir in Punjab. Terming telecom services as "lifeline" for lakhs of customers, COAI's Director General, SP Kochhar said disruption of telecom services is causing immense inconvenience to the common man, for whom mobile services are "essential".

    "While we respect people's right to protest on any issue, sabotaging the telecom network infrastructure and disrupting telecom services as a form of protest by anyone is strongly condemned," COAI said in a statement. Apex industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI's) members include Reliance JioBharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. More than 1,500 telecom towers in Punjab were damaged by farmers protesting against the three farm laws, disrupting services in some pockets.

    Read: Sabotaging telecom infra, disrupting services as form of protest strongly condemned: COAI

  • December 29, 2020 / 01:54 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Bihar: Members of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti and other Left organisations hold protest march to the Governor's House over Centre's three farm reform laws

  • December 29, 2020 / 01:42 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | Whatever be the politics of the current farm agitation there’s no denying the high esteem the Indian farmer from Punjab is held in across agricultural hubs of the world. Much like the country’s IT professionals who have carved a niche for themselves in the world of computing, Sikh farmers have used their skills gained from tilling the fields at home to make a mark in various parts of the world ranging from Argentina to Italy.

    Their contribution to the dairy industry in Italy, is too recent and too well-known to need recounting. The headlines alone will suffice. ‘In Italian Heartland, Indians Keep the Cheese Coming’, wrote The New York Times (NYT), while Al Jazeera kept it to a simpler: ‘The Indians saving Italy’s traditional cheese industry’, and the BBC gave them a precise name: ‘The Sikhs who saved Parmesan’.

    Through the 1980s and 1990s, so many of them made their way to the country’s agricultural zones that the term Sikh Route came into prevalence. Today, their hard work and expertise in dairy farming has made them integral to the Italian cheese industry.

    Read: Sikh farmers have been great ambassadors of India's agri skills 

  • December 29, 2020 / 01:15 PM IST

    Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates | The farmer agitation in New Delhi might be one of the largest and longest protests in recent memory. But as they enter in the 26th day, they do not have the same groundswell of support like say an India Against Corruption movement saw a decade ago, shows a survey. The survey by News18 on the Centre's three farm reforms shows that majority of citizens polled support the proposed laws and believe that the protests should end. At least 7 in 10 people surveyed expressed support for reform and modernization in agriculture.

    This support was quite broad-based and it is not surprising. The 70th round of NSSO on Key Indicators of Agricultural Households in India shows that only six per cent of farmers gain from MSPs. The rest put up with vagaries of the occupation and imperfect markets. For produce like poultry and dairy, a MSP or Mandi system doesn’t exist and they have grown faster than food grains

    Opinion: Why there is popular support for farm laws

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