As the protests by thousands of farmers entered the fifth day on Monday (November 30), Union minister Prakash Javadekar urged them not to “misunderstand” the Centre’s new farm laws.
“Do not misunderstand the agricultural law. Farmers in Punjab sold more than last year in the paddy market and more on MSP. MSP is also alive and market is also alive and government procurement is also happening,” Javadekar tweeted on Monday morning.
कृषि कानून पर गलतफहमी ना रखें। पंजाब के किसानों ने पिछले साल से ज्यादा धान मंडी में बेचा और ज़्यादा #MSP पर बेचा। MSP भी जीवित है और मंडी भी जीवित है और सरकारी खरीद भी हो रही है।
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) November 30, 2020
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said APMC mandis will continue to operate. “The new agricultural laws do not abolish APMC mandis. The mandis will continue to operate as before. The new law has given farmers the freedom to sell their crops anywhere.”
Related News: Protesting farmers put forth 4 demands
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked the Narendra Modi government and said the farm law will “benefit billionaire friends”.
“The name is farm law but all the benefit for billionaire friends. How can farmer laws be made without talking to farmers? How can the interests of farmers be ignored? The government will have to listen to the farmers. Let us together raise our voice in support of farmers,” she tweeted.
नाम किसान कानून
लेकिन सारा फायदा अरबपति मित्रों का
किसान कानून बिना किसानों से बात किए कैसे बन सकते हैं? उनमें किसानों के हितों की अनदेखी कैसे की जा सकती है?
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) November 30, 2020
Rahul Gandhi too took to Twitter to attack the Centre. He wrote, “Modi government persecuted the farmer – first black laws were run again, but he forgot that when the farmer raises his voice, his voice resonates throughout the country. You are also against the exploitation of farmer brothers and sisters #SpeakUpForFarmers Connect through campaign.”
मोदी सरकार ने किसान पर अत्याचार किए- पहले काले क़ानून फिर चलाए डंडे लेकिन वो भूल गए कि जब किसान आवाज़ उठाता है तो उसकी आवाज़ पूरे देश में गूंजती है।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 30, 2020
In its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena slammed the BJP government and said “farmers are being treated like terrorists”.
“Our farmers are being treated as terrorists and attacked on Delhi borders while terrorists are killing our soldiers on the border in Kashmir,” an editorial in Saamana said.
The Sena singled out Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for claiming a Khalistani link in the protests. “BJP wants to create anarchy. Khalistan is a closed chapter for which Indira Gandhi and General Arunkumar Vaidya laid down their lives,” it said.
“The government is using all its might to crush political opponents but why is this determination not seen while dealing with the country’s enemies,” it asked.
The protesters threatened to block all five entry points to the national capital. Rejecting the Centre’s offer to hold talks once they move to the Burari ground, the farmers said they will not accept any conditional dialogue and have called a meeting to discuss their next course of action later in the day.
Farmers, who had reached Nirankarai Samagam Ground in Burari on Saturday, continued their protest there. Traffic continued to be disrupted in Delhi due to the protests.
Taking to Twitter, the Delhi Traffic Police on Monday alerted commuters to take an alternate route since Singhu and Tikri borders continued to remain closed.
“Singhu Border is still closed from both sides. Please take alternate route.Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba Chowk & GTK road.Traffic is very very heavy. Please avoid outer ring road from signature bridge to Rohini & vice versa, GTK road, NH 44 & Singhu borders,” it tweeted.
Singhu Border is still closed from both sides. Please take alternate route.Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba Chowk & GTK road.Traffic is very very heavy. Please avoid outer ring road from signature bridge to Rohini & Vice versa, GTK road, NH 44 & Singhu borders
— Delhi Traffic Police (@dtptraffic) November 30, 2020
In another tweet, it said, “Tikri border is closed for any Traffic Movement. Available Open Borders to Haryana are following Borders Jharoda, Dhansa, Daurala Jhatikera, Badusari, Kapashera, Rajokri NH 8,Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera borders.”
Tikri border is closed for any Traffic Movement.
Available Open Borders to Haryana are following Borders Jharoda,Dhansa ,Daurala Jhatikera,Badusari,Kapashera, Rajokri NH 8,Bijwasan/Bajghera,Palam vihar and Dundahera borders
— Delhi Traffic Police (@dtptraffic) November 30, 2020
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had appealed to the farmers to shift to the Burari ground and had said the Centre was ready to hold discussions with them as soon as they move to the designated place.
A meeting of over 30 farmer groups was held to discuss Shah’s offer for talks before the scheduled date of December 3 once they move to Burari in the city, but the thousands of protesters had refused to budge and spent another night in the cold at the Singhu and Tikri border points.
Their representatives had said that Shah’s condition that they shift the protest is not acceptable and claimed Burari ground is an “open jail”.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in a letter to 32 farmers organisations sent on Saturday cited the cold conditions and the COVID-19 outbreak and said the farmers should move to the Burari ground where adequate facilities have been made for them.
“As soon as you shift to the ground at Burari, the very next day a high-level committee of union ministers will hold talks at Vigyan Bhavan with the representatives of all farmers unions, with whom dialogue had taken place earlier,” he had said in the letter.
(With inputs from PTI)