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Will 'Make' Govt Repeal Agri Laws: Farmers Harden Stance, Delhi's Chilla Border to be Blocked Today

Farmers raise slogans during a protest in support of the nationwide strike, called by farmer unions to press for repeal of the Centre's Agri laws, in Amritsar, Tuesday. (Image: PTI)

Farmers raise slogans during a protest in support of the nationwide strike, called by farmer unions to press for repeal of the Centre's Agri laws, in Amritsar, Tuesday. (Image: PTI)

They said that they will completely block the Chilla Border between Delhi and Noida on Wednesday to press for their demands, adding that farmer unions are not running away from negotiation, but the government has to pay heed to their demands and come forward with concrete proposals.

Hardening their stance on the three new agri laws, farmer leaders on Tuesday said they will “make” government repeal these legislations, and asserted that their fight has reached a stage where they are “determined” to win it no matter what. They said that they will completely block the Chilla Border between Delhi and Noida on Wednesday to press for their demands, adding that farmer unions are not running away from negotiation, but the government has to pay heed to their demands and come forward with concrete proposals.

Addressing a press conference at the Singhu Border, farmer leader Jagjeet Singh Dallewal said, “The government is saying ‘we won’t repeal these laws’, we are saying we will make you do it.” “The fight has reached a stage where we are determined to win no matter what,” he said. Another leader Yudhvir Singh said that the more days protesting farmers stay put at Delhi border points, their protest will intensify further, and added that the government is wrong if it thinks otherwise.

Farmers’ hardening their stance comes on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that farmers who have gathered near Delhi are being misled as part of a conspiracy. Speaking after laying foundation stones for some development projects in his home state Gujarat, Modi also said that his government is addressing farmers’ concerns over the new agri laws.

During the press conference at the Singhu Border on Tuesday, farmer union leaders gave a nationwide call to observe ‘Homage Day’ (Shraddhanjali Diwas) on December 20 to pay tributes to those farmers who have lost their lives during the ongoing protests. Farmer leader Rishipal claimed that one farmer has died every day on an average since the protest started in the last week of November.

“A Homage Day (Shraddhanjali Diwas) for all the farmers who lost their lives and became martyrs in the ongoing protest will be organised across the country in villages and tehsil headquarters on December 20 from 11 am to 1 pm,” he said. “First government should repeal all three laws, only then farmers will talk,” Rishipal told reporters.

He said that demonstration held on Monday in 350 districts across country was successful while 150 toll plazas were also made ‘free’ by farmers as part of their nationwide call against the new agri laws. Dallewal said that arrangements are also being made for women protestors too, adding that in the next three to four days they will be coming in huge numbers and joining the protest against the new farm laws.

He alleged that the central government is doing everything to create differences within farmers unions, but they have made their mind and stand united in their fight. “Government is saying there is coronavirus and its officials are getting infected, but why is that any farmer sitting at border point has not been infected with coronavirus. God is with us,” Dallewal also said.

Thousands of farmers have been camping at several Delhi border points for the last 20 days now. They are protesting the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The Jaipur-Delhi national highway in Rajasthan’s Alwar district remained partially blocked on Tuesday as the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s new farm laws entered the third day. The farmers were led by Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, CPIM legislator Balwan Poonia and former legislator Amra Ram.

“We do not know why Haryana Police and government are stopping us. We are not demanding anything from them. This act of Haryana government is undemocratic,” Yadav told reporters.

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