Farmer leaders on Friday gave a call for Bharat Bandh on Tuesday (December 8), the ninth day of their protest against the Centre’s new agricultural laws.
“Yesterday (Thursday, December 3), we told the government that the farm laws should be withdrawn. We have given a call for Bharat Bandh on December 8,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Lakhowal) general secretary Harvinder Singh Ladkhwal at the Singhu border after a meeting.
“We see the government agreeing to our demands on Minimum Support Price (MSP), electricity and penalties for stubble burning but we won’t stop till the laws are repealed,” Satnam Singh Ajnala, President of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Punjab, told NDTV.
On Thursday, talks between farmers’ unions and three Union ministers remained deadlocked as the farmers’ groups stuck to their demand that the new laws be repealed. Another round of talks are scheduled for Saturday.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said the farmers are hoping that the government will meet their demands during the fifth round of talks on Saturday.
“The government and the farmers did not reach any decision during the meeting held on Thursday. The government wants to make amendments to the three laws, but we want the laws to be completely repealed.
“If the government does not agree to our demands, we will continue to protest. We are looking to find out what happens in Saturday’s meeting,” Tikait told PTI.
Delhi’s border points remained choked as thousands of farmers from Haryana, Punjab, and other states held demonstrations.
The farmer community has expressed apprehension that the new laws are “anti-farmer”, and would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
Farmers blocking essential services: Petition
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday (December 4) seeking the immediate dispersal of the mass congregation of protesting farmers, saying the agitation was blocking essential services.
“It is pertinent to note that in view of the prevention of the community spread of the pandemic disease Coronavirus, it is very necessary to remove the gathering,” the plea filed by advocate Om Prakash Parihar, said.
“This protest is further blocking the roads for all emergency/medical services which are very much required to be supplied with the territory of Delhi in order to stop the spread of coronavirus as the cases of coronavirus patients are increasing rapidly in Delhi and many people were frequently travelling to Delhi from different states to get treatment in big government hospitals situated in Delhi,” the petition stated.
(With inputs from PTI)