Braving biting cold, scores of farmers stayed put at the Delhi-Noida border near Chilla on Saturday night in protest against the three recent farm laws of the Centre even as other agitating farmers returned home for night stay. During the day, farmers' groups from various Western Uttar Pradesh districts visit the border, join demonstrations and then return by evening, leaving local protestors and those from nearby districts at the site for an overnight stay, said Yogesh Pratap Singh, the UP unit chief of the BKU (Bhanu).
Around 50 BKU (Bhanu) members, some of them belonging to Gautam Buddh Nagar, Bulandshahr and Ghaziabad, were at Chilla border on Saturday night, while 11 members observed fast during the day. Eleven protestors observe fast during the day till 5 pm. It has been about a week since this hunger strike was started to protest against the government's decision, said Singh.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) members are camping at the Chilla border since December 1 while those belonging to the BKU (Lok Shakti) have been staying put at the nearby Dalit Prerna Sthal. The demonstrations continued even as Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of the protesting farmer unions at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders, on Saturday decided to resume their dialogue with the Centre and proposed December 29 for the next round of talks.
On the next round of talks with the Centre, Singh, the son of BKU (Bhanu) chief Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh, said, Whenever the talks happen between the farmer unions and the government, it must be ensured that the three new laws are repealed and a new law ensuring MSP is discussed. Over a dozen protestors belonging to the BKU (Lok Shakti) stayed put at the nearby Dalit Prerna Sthal, the faction's home since December 2, for the overnight stay. The protest is continuing and future of the protests would be decided after the next round of talks, BKU (Lok Shakti) spokesperson Shailesh Kumar Giri said.
Meanwhile, traffic remained disrupted at the Chilla border due to the stir where only one carriageway (Delhi to Noida) was open for commuters, a Noida Traffic Police official said. The other routes Kalindi Kunj and DND were open and had normal traffic movement throughout the day, the official added. Thousands of farmers are currently camping at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
They have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations. However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.