Farmers wait at Delhi border, yet to decide on Burari Ground offer

Thousands more are set to join the protesters staying put at the Singhu and Tikri borders of Delhi

The protesters have threatened to block all five entry points to the national capital | File Photo: PTI

The protesting farmers are currently camping on Delhi’s outskirts, waiting for their leaders to decide whether they’ll move their agitation against the new farm laws to the designated Nirankari ground in Burari. Thousands more are set to join the protesters staying put at the Singhu and Tikri borders amid heavy police presence, after having made their way to the capital braving water cannons, tear gassing and baton charging by the Haryana police.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said they are currently at the Delhi border and are yet to decide on moving to Burari. He said a meeting will be held in the evening to decide the next course of action.

Bharatiya Kisan Union members attempt to cross a barricade at Ghazipur border | Photo: PTI

However, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of the largest farmer outfits in Punjab, asserted they’ll not go to Burari and demanded they be allowed to protest at Jantar Mantar, a popular protest site. “We urge the Centre to give us a place at Jantar Mantar for the agitation. We will not go to the Burari ground at any cost,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) senior vice-president Jhanda Singh Jethuke.

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Meanwhile, Punjab farmers resumed their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on Saturday morning after halting for the night to join thousands who have already reached the national capital’s borders. “We have reached close to the Delhi border. But we are stuck because of traffic snarls. Our farmers who are in tractor-trailers are still behind us,” said BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leader Jhanda Singh Jethuke said.

BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leaders claimed over one lakh farmers, including elderly women, are marching to the national capital in tractor-trailers, buses and other vehicles.

Bharatiya Kisan Union members stage a protest at Singhu border | Photo: PTI

“We have the ration for five to six months to sustain ourselves. We’ll not return till the Centre scraps the new farm laws,” a protesting farmer said. They have brought ration, vegetables, utensils, wood and other essentials for their march. In view of cold weather conditions, they have stocked quilts, blankets and covered their trolleys with tarpaulin.

Farmers associated with the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) said that they entered Haryana on Saturday for their march to the national capital. “Our farmers are expected to reach Delhi late in the evening,” said KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher.

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Earlier in the day, BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) leader Shingara Singh said farmers again started heading towards Delhi in the morning after a night halt at Meham in Rohtak district of Haryana. Another group of farmers made a night halt at Julana in Haryana’s Jind district, he said. Farmers with the outfit had on Friday broken through police barricades at Khanauri and Dabwali borders between Punjab and Haryana.

Bharatiya Kisan Union members sit on a road at the Ghazipur border | Photo: PTI

Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday blamed his Punjab counterpart Capt. Amarinder Singh for fanning the protests against the BJP-led central government, while Singh responded saying he’ll not pick up his calls, expressing anger over Haryana’s action on the protesting farmers.

Besides, some groups of farmers from Uttar Pradesh gathered at the Ghazipur border with their vehicles on Saturday afternoon, lending support to the protest by their counterparts from Punjab against the farm laws. A Delhi Police officer said that around 200 farmers arrived at UP Gate (Ghazipur border) as part of  ‘Delhi Chalo’ march call given by farmer organisations in Punjab and police officials were talking to them.

Why are farmers marching to Delhi?

The farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ march is against three new agri laws passed by the Centre. The All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and various factions of Bharatiya Kisan Union had given the call for the march. Farmers protesting against the three farm laws have expressed apprehension that these will pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates. The Centre has invited several Punjab farmer outfits for another round of talks in Delhi on December 3.

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