The farmers protest demanding to scrap the contentious farm bills intensified today as the agitating farmers camping near the Delhi border are holding a nine-hour long hunger strike.
Thirty-three farmer leaders are holding a hunger strike at Singhu border which remains the center of protest.
Yesterday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also extended support to the protesting farmers and said he will fast along with farmers tomorrow to mark his protest against the centre’s new agricultural laws.
“I will hold a one-day fast tomorrow in support of farmers’ protests. I appeal to AAP volunteers to join in. Centre should immediately accept all demands of farmers protesting the laws and bring a bill to guarantee MSP (minimum support price),” Arvind Kejriwal had said.
“Thousands of people support the farmers in their struggle. I appeal to everyone to fast for one day to show their solidarity. These new laws are harmful for the country. They decriminalise profiteering and hoarding. They will help prices go up,” he added.
The protesting farmers held a tractor march yesterday from Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border leading to the closure of the Delhi-Jaipur highway.
However, by late evening, the highway was partially opened by the protesters.
Yogendra Yadav, the Swaraj India party chief, accompanied by social activist Medha Patkar, was also with the group.
Last week, one of the 32 protesting unions moved the Supreme Court against the farm bills. They also dismissed claims that “ultra-left” and “pro-Left Wing Extremist” elements have hijacked their agitation.
Meanwhile amid the protests, which have not yielded any conclusive results even after several rounds of talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday had said that the new farm laws will help bring down barriers between agricultural and associated sectors, creating new markets for farmers who will gain from technological advances and investments.
PM Modi said that when one sector grows, its effect is seen in several other sectors.
“But imagine what would happen when unnecessary walls are erected between industries. No industry will grow as fast as it should,” PM Modi said.
PM also pointed specifically towards the controversial farm laws brought in by the central government in September.
“Agriculture and its related sectors such as agricultural infrastructure, food processing, storage, cold chains had seen walls between them. Now these walls are being removed. These reforms will give farmers new markets, advantages of technology, and help bring investments. It is my country’s farmers who will benefit the most from all this,” he said.
The bone of contention between the farmers and the central government are the three laws -The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 enacted in September.
Farmers allege that these laws will snatch the privilege of MSP from them, a facility which helps them to get a minimum pre-defined amount from the government, while the government maintains that these laws will not curtail any such privilege.