The ongoing protest of the farmers enters its 17th day on Saturday with a massive plan to block highways set in motion. As the impasse persists with government saying it is open to talks and farmers concurring as well to more discussions — only if the Centre wants to discuss the withdrawal of the three farm laws, the standoff sees no immediate resolution while the protest intensifies with more and more farmers’ groups joining. On Friday, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar reiterated the commitment of the Centre and said it has not yet received any proposal from the agitating farmers. The farmers, on the other hand, said the Centre should inform the farmers when they want to meet.
Here are the latest updates of the protest:
1. On Friday midnight, farmers overpowered the toll-plazas of Karnal and Panipat on Delhi-Chandigarh National highway, allowing toll-free movement. Today, the workers of Bharatiya Kisan Union will make all highways leading to Delhi free of toll.
2. Faridabad Police is deploying as many as 3,500 police personnel at the toll plazas at five Delhi-Haryana border points, including Badarpur Border, Gurugram Faridabad, Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal, Pali Crusher Zone and Dhauj. There will be drone surveillance too.
3. On Friday, the Centre alleged that Leftist-Maoist are hijacking farmers protest. “People of India are watching, seeing what is happening, observing how across the country Leftist-Maoists are not finding any support & therefore they are trying to hijack this farmers agitation & trying misuse this platform for their own agenda,” Food, railways and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.
4. A faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has moved the Supreme Court demanding the laws be rolled back. “The impugned legislations corporatise agriculture and usher in unregulated and exploitative regime because Indian farmers, of which most are illiterate, would not have the knowledge to negotiate the best terms with a private company and due to this [will] lead to unequal bargaining position in negotiating the farm agreements with corporates,” the plea said.
5. Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) leader and Haryana deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Thursday said he will resign from his post in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government if he is unable to ensure minimum support price for the procurement of farmers’ crops.
6. As several farmer groups from Punjab, Haryana are on their way to Delhi, on December 14, there will be sit-ins near BJP offices, according to the plan of the protesters. The Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh will organise sit-ins on Monday.
7. Meanwhile, the BJP has decided to hold nationwide programmes, including chaupal in rural areas to highlight the benefits of the three farm laws.
8. The main protest site at Singhu border is bustling with protesters are settling down at their makeshift new homes without betraying any sign of budging. Trolleys containing jaggery, roasted gram, peanuts, gajjak arrived at Singhu border on Friday from Punjab.
9. Free medical units have also been set up to check the health of elderly protesters who are braving the cold.
10. Bharatiya Kisan Union national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait on Friday said famers won’t back out now unless the three laws are repealed.