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Amid Centre's Concern Over 'Embarrassing' Stir, Farmers Say Will Go Ahead with R-Day Tractor March

Farmers continue to protest along a blocked highway at the Gazipur Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghaziabad on Tuesday. (AFP)

Farmers continue to protest along a blocked highway at the Gazipur Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghaziabad on Tuesday. (AFP)

The Centre, in an application filed through Delhi Police in Supreme Court, said that any protest which seeks to disrupt and disturb the Republic Day celebrations will cause an embarrassment to the nation.

Even as the Centre expressed apprehensions over farmers' protest on Republic Day causing "embarrassment to the nation", the crop growers' have decided not to budge from their stand, with Swaraj India's Yogendra Yadav assuring that no disruption will be caused to official day ceremony.

"Farmers will carry out tractor parade with national flag on Outer Ring Road of Delhi on Republic Day. No disruption will be caused to the official Republic Day ceremony," Yadav said.

In view of the proposed protest March, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava on Saturday held a review meeting in which he also took stock of the arrangements at farmers' agitation sites to maintain law and order.

The Centre, in an application filed through Delhi Police in Supreme Court, said that any protest which seeks to disrupt and disturb the Republic Day celebrations will cause an embarrassment to the nation.

It said the right to protest can never include "maligning the nation globally" and requested the top court to restrain anyone from conducting any protest march either in the form of tractor march, trolley march, vehicle march or any other mode by entering into the National Capital Region Territory of Delhi.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued notice on the application and said that it be served upon the farmers' unions, which are protesting against the new farm laws. The matter is pending in court.

Another farmer union leader, Darshan Pal Singh, alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is filing cases against those who are part of the protest or supporting it. "All farmer unions condemn this," Pal said, referring to the NIA summons reportedly issued to a farmer union leader in a case related to the banned Sikhs For Justice outfit.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a month now demanding repeal of the three laws -- the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act. Enacted in September 2020, the central government has presented these laws as major farm reforms aimed at increasing farmers' income, but the protesting farmers have raised concerns that these legislations would weaken the minimum support price (MSP) and "mandi" (wholesale market) systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporations.

The government has maintained that these apprehensions are misplaced and has ruled out a repeal of the laws.

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