Eastern Times: December 14, 2020 New Delhi: Thirty-three farmer leaders, who had participated in negotiations with the government sat on day-long hunger strike on Monday at Singhu on the Haryana-Delhi border, one of the key protest sites. The hunger strike, from 8 am to 5 pm, is part of the plan by the joint farmer groups to intensify their agitation.
At the government end, home minister Amit Shah met agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday this afternoon amid the nationwide hunger strike by the farmer leaders protesting against the new agricultural laws.
With thousands of protesters camping near the Delhi borders since late November, this is the second nationwide protest in less than a week after highways were blocked last Tuesday as a part of bandh called by the farmers and supported by the opposition parties and trade unions.
While several round of talks with the Centre have failed so far to convince the farmers to call off their agitation demanding repealing of the three contentious farm laws and the Electricity Bill, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, “There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector. Reforms have been brought with best interests of farmers in mind.”
Tomar too said the laws won’t be repealed. “We are ready for a discussion with protesting farmers, and we’re waiting for a response.
We’ve made it clear we’re ready for clause by clause discussion,” he said after a meet with 10 farmer bodies from several states that expressed support on the three farm laws.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also went on a fast to express solidarity with the farmers. “Fasting is pure.
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Wherever you are, please fast for our farmer brothers. Pray to god that they succeed as they struggle. In the end, they’ll win for sure,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Clashes erupted this afternoon on Delhi-Jaipur highway when some farmers from Haryana were on their way to the national capital on tractors. Dramatic visuals showed farmers being dragged away and policemen snatching keys from them in a bid to block demonstrations. Around 20 people were detained and released about an hour later
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) faction — one of the key organisations leading the farmers’ protest — saw discord on Sunday over the opening of a highway from Noida to Delhi, a day after Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh, BKU chief, met with Rajnath Singh.
The UP unit chief of the BKU (Bhanu) Yogesh Pratap, who was holding a sit-in protest on the Chilla road for the last 12 days, disagreed with the decision.
A petition was filed on Friday in the Supreme Court by the Bharatiya Kisan Union that sought repeal of the laws.
The top court has already issued notices to the centre on a batch of petitions challenging the laws. Three other petitions linked to the protests will be taken up on Wednesday.