Farmers’ protest Live Updates: Farmers observe relay hunger strike; Centre invites farm leaders for more talks

Farmers’ protest Live Updates: Farmers observe relay hunger strike; Centre invites farm leaders for more talks
Protesting farmers listen to a speech as they camp on a highway at the Delhi- Uttar Pradesh border, outskirts of New Delhi, Friday. (Photo: AP)

Farmers’ Protest Live Updates: As the stir at Delhi borders enters 26th day, the farmers are observing a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all protest sites against the Centre’s new agriculture laws. The farmers also plan to halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27. “From December 25 to 27 all toll booths in Haryana will not be allowed by us to collect toll, we will halt them from doing so. On December 27, our prime minister will say his ‘Mann ki baat‘ and we want to appeal to people to beat ‘thalis’ during his address,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Jagjeet Singh Dalewala said

With farm unions’ protests to press their demand for the repeal of the laws nearing a month, the government on Sunday invited farmer leaders for a fresh round of talks, and urged them to choose a date according to their convenience. In a five-page letter to Krantikari Kisan Union Punjab state president Dr Darshan Pal, Vivek Aggarwal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said: “You are requested to share the details in respect to your doubts after having discussion with farm union leaders invited earlier, and inform the date for punah vaarta (next round of talks) according to your convenience, so that the matter can be resolved by holding a meeting again at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi; so that the current agitation can be ended soon.” Aggarwal’s letter has come in response to Pal’s December 16 email, through which he had informed the government of the farm unions’ decision to reject the Centre’s proposal of concessions regarding changes in the farm laws.

In other news, a Facebook page, which was set up by farmer organisations’ “IT Cell” to “counter misinformation”, was taken down by Facebook on Sunday for a few hours. According to a statement issued by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, at 7 pm, a Facebook live was being streamed from the page where they were talking about how they had reached 94 lakh people through the page. “The page was unpublished at 7 pm. We had started a live (streaming), telling people that Kisan Ekta Morcha’s Facebook reach was 94 lakh and the page was unpublished. We will address a proper press conference tomorrow with all farm leaders… the page was (later) republished,” the statement said.

Every day, Dev Roz, a 21-year-old student from Rewari and a member of the Jamindara Student Organisation (JSO), travels to five different places to buy drinking water for protesters at the Tikri border. At 10 pm, he first receives a text from the farmer leaders about the requirement. He then sets off in a truck, buying all the bottles at night so he can reach the protest site early the next day.

“Today, I collected more than 1.5 lakh Bisleri bottles from Delhi’s Nangloi and Mundka and Haryana’s Bahadurgarh and Rohtak. We get money from the general secretary to buy water; sometimes, the shopkeepers give us the bottles for free,” said Dev, who joined the protest with his family two weeks ago. Read full report by Jignasa Sinha

On Sunday, protesters across the three borders paid tributes to farmers who died since the protests began. At Ghazipur, Hakam Sandhi (40), a farmer from Karnal, said, “The sacrifice of these farmers who lost their lives is very important. We pay our tributes to Guru Teg Bahadur every year; this year, we decided to pay tributes to the 29 farmers who were martyred as well…”

While some of the farmers died in road accidents, others died of natural causes ostensibly aggravated by harsh weather. 

With farm unions’ protests to press their demand for the repeal of the laws nearing a month, the government on Sunday invited farmer leaders for a fresh round of talks, and urged them to choose a date according to their convenience. In a five-page letter to Krantikari Kisan Union Punjab state president Dr Darshan Pal, Vivek Aggarwal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said: “You are requested to share the details in respect to your doubts after having discussion with farm union leaders invited earlier, and inform the date for punah vaarta (next round of talks) according to your convenience, so that the matter can be resolved by holding a meeting again at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi; so that the current agitation can be ended soon.” Aggarwal’s letter has come in response to Pal’s December 16 email, through which he had informed the government of the farm unions’ decision to reject the Centre’s proposal of concessions regarding changes in the farm laws.

On Sunday, protesters across the three borders paid tributes to farmers who died since the protests began. At Ghazipur, Hakam Sandhi (40), a farmer from Karnal, said, “The sacrifice of these farmers who lost their lives is very important. We pay our tributes to Guru Teg Bahadur every year; this year, we decided to pay tributes to the 29 farmers who were martyred as well…”

While some of the farmers died in road accidents, others died of natural causes ostensibly aggravated by harsh weather. Among those who came in solidarity were singer Babbu Maan and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. A group of retired army personnel also visited the borders. At Tikri, farmers held a shradhanjali and puja ceremony while photos of those who died were put up next to the stage at Singhu.

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