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Agriculture Minister Invites Farmer Bodies for Talks on December 3 as Protesters Camp in Delhi

New Delhi: Farmers raise slogans at Singhu Border during 'Delhi Chalo' protest march against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Farmers raise slogans at Singhu Border during 'Delhi Chalo' protest march against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Thousands of farmers still waited at border points as they were undecided to go to the identified demonstration site.

Hundreds of farmers entered the national capital on Friday to protest against Centre’s new farm laws after the Delhi Police gave them permission to hold “peaceful demonstration" at the Nirankari Ground in Burari. Following several hours of confrontation with the police at different border points with Haryana and having faced tear gas and water cannons, around 600 farmers marched towards the ground for the agitation. At the Tikri border, some groups of farmers were escorted by police personnel around 3 pm amid tight security and taken towards the identified protest site.

“After holding discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold peaceful protest at Nirankari Ground in Burari. We appeal to all farmers to maintain peace," said Eish Singhal, Delhi Police PRO.

Hours after Delhi Police allowed entry in the national capital to farmers, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said the government has called the farmer bodies for another round of talks on December 3. “I appeal to the farmers to give up their protests and come and talk to us. We have made laws for the benefit of farmers and this govt is pro-farmer," he said.

Meanwhile, thousands still waited at border points as they were undecided to go to the identified demonstration site. Those gathered at the Singhu border, one of the main routes used to access the city from Punjab, had not entered the city till late evening.

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The move came amid clashes between farmers and police personnel at the Singhu border. Earlier in the day, the Delhi Police used tear gas at the Singhu Border to disperse protesting farmers who were trying to head towards the national capital as part of the march to protest the Centre’s new farm laws. Farmers also pelted stones at police and broke barricades in an attempt to enter the national capital. Heavy police deployment had been made at the city borders to prevent their entry.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the Union government’s decision allowing farmers to enter the national capital and hold peaceful agitation. “I welcome the Centre’s decision to allow farmers to enter Delhi to exercise their democratic right to protest. They should also now initiate immediate talks to address farmers’ concerns on the #FarmLaws and resolve the simmering issue," Amarinder Singh said in a tweet.

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda condemned police action and said, “Farmers shouldn’t have been treated so roughly. Using tear gas on farmers who already had tears in their eyes. Farmers’ demands are right, govt should heed to them & resolve issues instantly. I ask people of Haryana to treat farmers with care."

Meanwhile, the Delhi government said it will provide basic facilities to the farmers at Nirankari grounds, beginning with drinking water. The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi has asked its MLA and Delhi Jal Board vice-chairman Raghav Chadha to take stock of the situation by reaching Burari.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators have extended their support to farmers protesting against the Centre’s farm laws and said these “dark laws" must be withdrawn. They also said that the farmers, mainly from Punjab, reached Delhi after “much struggle", facing teargas shells, water canons and lathicharge by police at various border points along their way to the national capital.

The Delhi traffic police had shut the border for vehicular traffic as thousands of farmers resumed their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march after spending the night in Panipat. Visuals showed protesters pelting bricks and stone in Tikri, while Delhi-Gurugram border is witnessing massive traffic jam as police check vehicles. Rapid Action Force in riot gear have also been deployed in large numbers in Singhu. Delhi Metro services from neighbouring cities to Delhi remained suspended on Friday.

Hundreds of western Uttar Pradesh farmers responded to the Delhi Chalo call to protest against the three central farm laws. On a Bharatiya Kisan Union call to join the protest in Delhi, the farmers belonging to Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Gautam Buddh Nagar and other western UP districts reached the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Greater Noida on Friday afternoon, when they were stopped by the police.

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