Farm Laws Stir: Big Showdown Likely in Delhi on Nov 26 as Thousands of Farmers Take to Highways
File photo of farmers protesting against the recently passed farm laws.
A big showdown is expected in Delhi and its surrounding areas on November 26 when thousands of farmers and trade union members from various states try to march down to the national capital as part of their indefinite protest against the recent farm laws passed by the Centre.
News18 spoke to various farmer union leaders who said given that the administration has refused them permission to stage a protest in Delhi, they will come fully prepared to stay put for a week or may be more wherever they are stopped. This could result in several major highways in and around Delhi getting jammed.
“We had asked for permission from the authorities to protest in Jantar Mantar, at Ramlila Maidan but they rejected citing the coronavirus pandemic. Since they are not giving us an alternative, we have decided to march to Delhi through all the five major highways. We will avoid confrontation with the police. Wherever we are stopped, we will camp there for as long as it takes for the government to listen to our voice,” said Satyawan, the president of a Haryana-based farmers' body, All India Kisan Khet Mazduur Sangathan.
He said farmers will come prepared to stay put for at least a week or 10 days. Farmers are expected to march down to Delhi from highways linking the capital with Jaipur, Meerut, Rohtak, etc. Protestors are expected to come from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and parts of south India.
A prolonged face-off between farmers and police on the major highways could result in several miles of long traffic queues on both sides of the border that Delhi shares with other cities.
“We understand that the coronavirus situation in Delhi is not good and I hope many farmers do not step into Delhi. But you have to give some assurance to the farmers for the time being. What is the urgency? Can the government not put the implementation of the farm bills in abeyance for the next three to six months -- till the coronavirus vaccine comes? Then we can resume our protests keeping the general goodwill of society in mind,” said VM Singh, the national convenor of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC).
AIKSCC is the umbrella body representing over 250 farmer organisations from 22 states. For the November 26-27 protest, some other farmer bodies like Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and various factions of Bharatiya Kisan Union have joined with the AIKSCC. As have the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions (CTUs) which is an umbrella body of major trade unions in the country like, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC.