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Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal Join Protesting Farmers as Delhi's Ramlila Maidan Resonates With Demands for Justice

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Last Updated: November 30, 2018, 19:58 IST

(From left) Sitaram Yechury, Farooq Abdullah, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Yadav and D Raja at the farmers' rally in New Delhi on Friday. (Twitter/@INCIndia)

(From left) Sitaram Yechury, Farooq Abdullah, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Yadav and D Raja at the farmers' rally in New Delhi on Friday. (Twitter/@INCIndia)

Farmers Protest in Delhi LIVE: Rahul Gandhi Joins Thousands of Agitators Near Parliament, Arvind Kejriwal to Arrive Shortly

Farmers Protest in Delhi LIVE Updates: Taking up the cause of farmers who have marched into Delhi demanding loan waiver and remunerative prices for their produce, Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked the BJP government at the Centre as to what was stopping it from helping the farmers. Gandhi said that if the loans of industrialists can be waived off, then the farmers too must be heard and provided relief. He further complained that other than empty promises nothing has come the farmers’ way. Rahul Gandhi was joined on the stage by other opposition leaders like Sharad Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja and Arvind Kejriwal too joined them.

Earlier, Deputy commissioner of police Madhur Verma said that multiple rounds of talks with protesting leaders were held, following which they were given permission to move to Jantar Mantar with “conditions". “Proper arrangements have been made for security, traffic and law and order. We hope that farmers will follow the conditions," he said.

Denied permission by police to march to Parliament, around 35,000 farmers from across the country have converged near Parliament Street Police station in the national capital on Friday, where their leaders addressed the protesters.

The national secretary of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Asish Mittal, said farmers from 24 states have also joined the protest to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.

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As the kisan rally arrived at the Parliament Street, Tamil Nadu farmers took off their clothes and used the skulls and bones of their “dead crop growers" to cover their private parts. Some protesters were also spotted wearing garlands of dairy products. Scores of women, who said that their husbands committed suicide due to farm distress, participated in the procession with photographs of their deceased partners.

Commuters faced inconvenience as traffic has been diverted in central Delhi due to farmers’ protest. The protesters have blocked Jawaharlal Nehru Marg and Barakhamba Road as they head to Parliament. Raising slogans against the Modi government, the protesters ask “thieves of Rafale" to vacate the seat of power in Delhi.

Thousands of farmers, including members of Kisan Mukti Morcha, from across the country have gathered on day two of the protest to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce. In view of the large-scale agitation, security has been beefed up in the area.

Over 3,500 police personnel have been deployed on the route of the march. According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.

Farmers from different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh converged at the Ramlila ground on Thursday.

Branded under the AIKSCC, which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many farmers arrived in the city on Thursday, on trains, buses and other modes of transport.

About 1,200 members of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association reached the national capital in the early hours of Thursday carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide, their leader P Ayyakannu said.

The group from Tamil Nadu had threatened to march naked if they are not allowed to go to Parliament on Friday.They had last year staged protests at Jantar Mantar with the skulls of eight farmers who killed themselves owing to losses. The AIKSCC has claimed that the two-day rally will be one of the largest congregations of farmers in Delhi.

Five Gurdwaras in the Delhi region have extended their help to the farmers. Also students from various universities turned out in large numbers to lend support to the farmers. The protest also saw participation of a number of women farmers who travelled from various parts of the country.

Volunteers, including doctors, lawyers, professors and artists, all came out in large numbers to help the farmers. Around 600-700 volunteers of a solidarity group ‘Nation For Farmers’ marched with the protesters from the four assembly points.

The AIKSCC was formed under the aegis of All India Kisan Sabha and other Left-affiliated farmers’ bodies in June, 2017, following protests by farmers in states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for debt relief and remunerative prices.

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