Farmers protest at border points, refuse to head to North Delhi protest site: Latest developments

Thousands of farmers gathered at the Singhu border held a meeting on Saturday morning amid heavy security presence and decided to continue demonstrating there while hundreds of farmers entered the national capital to hold protest at the Sant Nirankari Ground on Friday after facing teargas, water cannons and clashing with security personnel. At the Tikri border too, protesters continued to hold their ground.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Large number of farmers trying to enter Delhi to protest against the new farm laws were stopped by the Police at Singhu and Tikri border points. On Friday, they were asked to move to Sant Nirankari Ground in North Delhi but thousands remained at border points, undecided whether to go to the demonstration site identified by police.
  • Those gathered at the Tikri border continued to protest. A decision on whether they would head to the designated protest site is expected Saturday.
  • The Centre appealed farm leaders to suspend their agitation and attend talks scheduled on December 3. Two rounds of discussions with Punjab Union were convened by the agriculture ministry besides other interactions involving defence minister Rajnath Singh with a different group.

Why Are Farmers Protesting ?

Farmers have been demanding legal guarantee to the procurement of crops at minimum support price (MSP) and repeal of the three newly enacted central farm laws. Besides demanding the repeal of three central farm laws, the farmers’ organizations have also called for the withdrawal of the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 which seeks to end direct subsidies.

Under the proposed law, all consumers, including farmers, will have to pay the tariff, and the subsidy will be sent to them through direct benefit transfer (DBT). The farm groups under Coordination Committee of the ‘Samyukt Kisan Morcha’ have said that the Centre should at least stop its confrontationist attitude of denying the largest section of society an opportunity to be heard. They said the Centre should initiate sincere dialogue.

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