LIVE: Govt invites farmer unions for talks, asks them to choose date

Farmers from Haryana gather at Singhu border near Delhi on Saturday as they join protests against laws liberalising agricultural markets. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)
Farmers' protest LIVE updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated his government won't back down on new laws that seek to open up India's agriculture markets, as tens of thousands of farmers continue to protest on the outskirts of Delhi.
 

"The country has made up its mind, the country is committed to changes in rules and regulations that the government is making to achieve the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat," he said on Saturday, referring to his plan to make the country economically independent. "Agricultural reforms that we undertook six months back have started benefiting farmers".

 

Farmers from Haryana and Punjab who’ve been camping outside New Delhi since November 26 are demanding a repeal of the three laws passed in September that allow them to sell crops directly to private firms instead of licensed middlemen at state-controlled markets.

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Govt writes to farmer unions inviting them for next round of talks

The government on Sunday wrote to the protesting farmer unions inviting them for the next round of talks and asked them to choose a convenient date.
 
In a letter to the union leaders, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said, "I request those previously invited protesting union leaders to provide details of their remaining concerns and doubts and suggest a date as per convenience for next round of talks."
 
Previous five rounds of formal talks between the government and 40 farmer unions have failed to break the deadlock with the farmers insisting on repeal of the Centre's three laws and camping at various border points of Delhi for over three weeks now.
 
The government intends to convene the next meeting at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi for resolving the issue so that the ongoing protests end at the earliest, Aggarwal said.

Harish Rawat joins farmers protest at Ghazipur border

Senior Congress leader Harish Rawat joined farmers protesting against the Centre's agricultural reform laws at the Ghazipur border here on Sunday and demanded the government take back the "anti-farmer" legislations.
 
The former Uttarakhand chief minister also paid homage to farmers who have died during the agitation.
 
AICC member Narendra Rathi said Rawat was accompanied by several Congress office-bearers and workers.
 
Farmers from different parts of the country, including Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at different border points of Delhi for four weeks now to demand the repeal of the three farm laws, which were voted through in Parliament in September amid strong protests by opposition parties.
 
"I am the son of a farmer and very well understand the problems of farmers. I demand that the central government withdraw the three anti-farmer agricultural laws," Rawat said.

Second Covid vaccine authorized in US ships out

Initial shipments of the second Covid-19 vaccine authorized in the US left a distribution center on Sunday, a desperately needed boost as the nation works to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control.
 
The trucks left the factory in the Memphis area with the vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health. The much-needed shots are expected to be given starting Monday, just three days after the Food and Drug Administration authorized their emergency rollout.
 
Later Sunday, an expert committee will debate who should be next in line for early doses of the Moderna vaccine and a similar one from Pfizer Inc. and Germany's BioNTech.

Majority of farmers support farm laws; opposition parties fuelling protests: BJP leader

Amid protests by farmers on Delhi borders against the Centre's new farm laws, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh said on Sunday that majority of farmers in the country support Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the legislations.
 
If a survey is conducted in the country, 99.9 per cent farmers will be found in support of the prime minister, Singh claimed at a 'kisan chaupal' (farmers' meet) at Gharoli village in east Delhi's Mayur Vihar area.
 
The meet was organised by the party's Delhi unit in support of the farm laws.
 
"Opposition parties, including the Congress and the AAP, lose no chance to indulge in conspiracy and instigate people at the slightest opportunity and they are doing the same regarding the farm laws," Singh said.

Tomar may meet protesting farmers in a day or two, says Amit Shah

Narendra Singh Tomar will likely meet farmer unions agitating at the borders of the national capital for repeal of three farm laws in a day or two, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.
 
Several rounds of talks with farmers’ representatives have failed to break the deadlock.

Tomar may meet protesting farmers in a day or two, says Amit Shah

Narendra Singh Tomar will likely meet farmer unions agitating at the borders of the national capital for repeal of three farm laws in a day or two, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.
 
Several rounds of talks with farmers’ representatives have failed to break the deadlock.

Will take over toll plazas, bang utensils during ‘Mann ki Baat’: Farmers

The farmers, who observed “Shradhanjali Divas” on Sunday to pay homage to those who lost their lives in their agitation against the farm laws, warned the government that they will make all the toll plazas free in Haryana between December 25-27 and will undertake a relay hunger strike.
 
They also decided to boycott any NDA constituent which doesn’t back the farmers’ stir.
 
Addressing a joint press conference at the Singhu Border as their protests against the three new farm laws entered the 25th day, the farmers unions said: “On December 27, PM (Narendra) Modi will speak in ‘Mann ki Baat’ but we want to appeal to all of you to bang utensils till the time the PM is speaking.”

Farmers to observe day-long relay hunger strike on Monday: Yogendra Yadav

Farmers will observe a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all sites of protest against the Centre’s new agri laws and halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27.
 
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the laws for the last over four weeks at various border points of Delhi and demanding that the legislations be repealed.
 
“Farmers will begin a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all sites of protest against the new agri laws. It will be started by a team of 11 members at protests sites here,” Swaraj India Chief Yogendra Yadav said at a press conference at the Singhu border.

Punjab farmer dies by suicide after returning from Delhi protests

A 22-year-old farmer, who returned from the protest near the Delhi border, on Sunday allegedly committed suicide after consuming some poisonous substance in his village in Punjab’s Bathinda district, police said on Sunday.
 
Gurlabh Singh, a resident of Dayalpura Mirza village, had returned to his village late Saturday from the protest site.
 
He was taken to the nearby hospital where he was declared dead. The reason behind the suicide was yet to be ascertained, the police said.

Farmers observe ‘Shradhanjali Diwas’ to pay tribute to those who died during protest

Farmers protesting at the borders of the national capital on Sunday observed Shradhanjali Diwas to pay tributes to those who lost their lives during the protest against the Centre’s farm laws.
 
Farmer Union leaders have claimed that over 20 of their fellow agitators have lost their lives in the duration of the protest, and continued to demand that the three ‘black laws’ be taken back.
 
A procession was carried out to pay tribute to the deceased farmers. At the Singhu border, a candlelight march has been scheduled in remembrance of the late farmers.
 

Doctors from Punjab set up 2-day eye-exam camp for farmers at Singhu border

A team of nine doctors from Punjab’s Garhshankar set up a two-day medical camp at the Singhu border here on Sunday to attend to the protesting farmers who are suffering from eye-related problems.
 
On their fourth visit to the protest site, a group of doctors, including ophthalmologists, physiotherapists and general physicians, arrived at the Singhu border on Saturday evening after attending to their duties at their respective workplaces in Garhshankar.
 
Due to the excessive cold, dust and pollution, many protesting farmers, who have been staying put at the Singhu border for nearly a month now, have been complaining of the dry-eye syndrome, watery eyes and other eye-related problems.

Doctors from Punjab set up 2-day eye-exam camp for farmers at Singhu border

A team of nine doctors from Punjab’s Garhshankar set up a two-day medical camp at the Singhu border here on Sunday to attend to the protesting farmers who are suffering from eye-related problems.
 
On their fourth visit to the protest site, a group of doctors, including ophthalmologists, physiotherapists and general physicians, arrived at the Singhu border on Saturday evening after attending to their duties at their respective workplaces in Garhshankar.
 
Due to the excessive cold, dust and pollution, many protesting farmers, who have been staying put at the Singhu border for nearly a month now, have been complaining of the dry-eye syndrome, watery eyes and other eye-related problems.

Farmer protests fallout of BJP’s politics of ‘lies and deceit’: UP Congress

The ongoing farmers’ protest against the Centre’s new agri laws is a fallout of BJP’s politics of “lies and deceit”, the Congress said on Sunday.
 
Speaking to reporters, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu also said that the party will continue its fight for farmers until the laws are withdrawn.
 
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the laws for the last over four weeks at various border points of Delhi.

Farmers' protests more political in nature, says Union Minister VK Singh

Union Minister VK Singh said the on going protests by farmers against the three Central farm laws was "more political" in nature and underlined the NDA government's intent to ensure the welfare of the ryots.

Speaking to reporters here ahead of his interaction with farmers, the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways claimed that "actual farmers are very happy with what has been done in last six months."

He sought to allay fears on Minimum Support Price (MSP) and other issues, saying MSP will carry on while contract farming will only benefit the farmers.

Seeing no headway in discussions with government: Farmer unions

As the farmers’ protest entered 25th day on Sunday around 40 farmers’ unions have been demanding a complete repeal of the recently passed three farm laws while several rounds of talks between the government and farmers’ leaders have failed to break the deadlock.
 
The unions have stated that they are not seeing any pragmatic changes from the government’s side.
 
Manjit Singh Rai, President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) at Singhu border told ANI, “The government is delaying our matter unnecessarily. They should have repealed the laws by now and send the farmers back to their homes. Although the government has stated that before the new year begins there would be a solution, however pragmatically speaking, we are not seeing anything hopeful or even close to that.”

Govt to explain farm laws to farmers across India in local languages: Report

The Narendra Modi government is reaching out to farmers across the country, with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s eight-page letter to protestors being translated into various vernacular languages.
 
Sources told ANI that the letter which was written primarily for Hindi speaking states will now be circulated among the farming community across the country in an effort to garner their support for the Central farm laws and explain the issues in detail in a language familiar to them.

Modi govt must listen to farmers: BSP leader

Bahujan Samaj Party asks government to heed farmers. "It is a very sad moment for those who provide food to the entire nation as the Centre is not fulfilling their demands. Farmers are the backbone of this country and the government is not listening to them. They have no empathy for the farmers," party spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria tells ANI.

PM Modi offers prayers at Gurudwara Rakabganj

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a surprise visit to Gurudwara Rakabganj in the national capital and paid tributes to Guru Tegh Bahadur for his supreme sacrifice. Guru Tegh Bahadur's death anniversary was observed on Saturday. Modi offered prayers during his visit to the gurudwara for which no police bandobast or traffic barriers were put in place to restrict movement of the common man, official sources said. The prime minister's visit to one of the most popular gurudwaras among the devotees in the national capital assumes significance as it comes amid intense protests by farmers, especially from Punjab, against the three farm laws enacted by his government.

 

Farmers plan to block the Ghazipur border

Farmers plan to block the Ghazipur border between Uttar Pradesh and Delhi as their protests against three agriculture laws entered the twentyfifth day, said media reports. Unions appear to have rebuffed the government’s offer of talks and plan to continue their protests.

Farmers plan prayer meeting

Farmer groups will commemorate Sunday people who lost their lives in protests against the three farm laws. Prayer meetings will be organised on 'Shradhanjali Diwas' to recognise the sacrifices made by farmers during the protests, Hindustan Times reported.

Modi to interact with farmers on December 25

Narendra Modi will interact with farmers on the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on December 25, the BJP said on Saturday, adding that the party will hold events called “kisan samvad” at around 2,500 places in Uttar Pradesh. State BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and party leader Radha Mohan Singh held a virtual meeting with party office-bearers to discusss organising the event.
 

Punjab farmers start 'turban langar' at Singhu border, asserts right to dignity

It was a riot of colours on Saturday morning in front of a tent at Singhu border, where farmers have been protesting against the three recently enacted farm laws for the last 24 days. This as hundreds queued up to tie turbans of all hue and colour -- green, blue, saffron, yellow and so on -- before participating in langar, albeit for the first time at the Singhu border since the beginning of the protest.
 
It was not just Sikhs who queued up to get fresh turbans, but also those who wished to wear them in solidarity with the protesters. The initiative at the Delhi-Haryana border has been started by a group of volunteers from Punjab.
 
"Our pride is turban, so we are promoting it and teaching people how to tie it. We are giving turbans for free, even to the enthusiasts who want to wear them," Baljinder Singh, one of the volunteers, told ANI.

A group of volunteers from Punjab started ‘pagdi langar’ at Singhu border in Delhi

Govt ready for talks if farmers come forward without seeking a 'yes or no' response: Haryana CM

Govt ready for talks if farmers come forward without seeking a 'yes or no' response to their demand for repeal of farm laws: Haryana CM

Farmers' agitation not affiliated to any political party, farmers group writes to PM, Tomar

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee on Saturday wrote letters addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar where it asserted the ongoing farmers' protests are not affiliated to any political party. In separate letters in Hindi to Modi and Tomar, the AIKSCC said that the government is wrong in assuming that the farmers' agitation against the three farm laws is being engineered by opposition parties.
 
It comes a day after the prime minister accused the opposition parties of misleading farmers over the three farm laws.
 
"The truth is that the farmers' agitation has forced political parties to change their views and your (PM's) claim that political parties fuelled it (protest) is wrong,"AIKSCC, which is one of around 40 unions protesting at several Delhi border points for the 23 last days, said in its letter to the prime minister.
 
Addressing farmers of Madhya Pradesh on Friday, Modi had defended the new farm laws, saying they were in the works for decades and those who are opposing them now for gaining lost political ground were once votaries of the same reforms. The opposition parties were against the new laws as they were upset that he would get the credit, Modi said, adding that he did not seek any credit but nobody should mislead farmers.

Farmers' Protest LIVE: Volleyball court comes up at Delhi-Haryana border

Farmers burn copies of Union agriculture minister's letter

Farmers camping at Delhi-Noida border in protests against the three recent farm laws of the Centre on Saturday burnt copies of an open letter of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's written to them in a bid to pacify them. A group of transgenders also joined farmers at their protest site at Chilla border during the day and entertained them with songs and dance, with some of them also taking digs at the government over its alleged adamant attitude over farm laws.
 
Scores of protestors from various districts of western Uttar Pradesh are camping at the Chilla border here and at a nearby Dalit Prerna Sthal since the first week of December. As members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), who are at Chilla border, burnt copies of the minister's letter, Yogesh Pratap Singh, the UP unit chief of farmers' group, said, The protest will not be over until the three laws are repealed.
 
The traffic movement on the Noida-Delhi Link Road via Chilla border, meanwhile, remained disrupted as only one carriageway was open and the other closed for commuters due to the agitation. The Noida to Delhi lane is closed but the other lane (Delhi to Noida) is open. Other routes between Delhi and Noida the DND and Kalindi Kunj are open for commuters, a Noida Traffic Police official said.

There can be a way out for talks in a day or two: Haryana CM on farmers' stir

There can be a way out for the next round of talks between the government and farmer unions protesting against the Centre's new farm laws in a day or two, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said after meeting Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday. This is the second time the Haryana chief minister met Tomar at his residence since the protests broke out over three weeks ago, a state government official told PTI, adding that he had met the Union minister earlier on December 8.
 
"In a day or two, there can be a way out for talks. The government is ready for discussion if farmer union leaders come forward beyond yes or no," Khattar was quoted as saying in a Haryana government statement.
 
The chief minister said he discussed with Tomar about the ongoing farmer protests. "Effort is to find solutions through dialogue," he said. The government can think of changes to the farm laws more than what it has done, he added. On the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal dispute, Khattar urged Punjab's farmers to take the issue seriously. He said crops in Punjab get damaged due to excess water and therefore this issue need to be resolved.

Farmers' protest issue should be resolved soon: Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar

Harish Rawat demands special session of Parliament to discuss farm laws

Congress leader Harish Rawat on Saturday alleged that BJP-led central government is trying to "end" farmers' protest against the three agriculture laws and demanded a special session of Parliament to discuss their demands. Rawat, who is Congress incharge of Punjab, joined the protest by MPs from the state at Jantar Mantar for demanding a special session of Parliament to discuss the three agriculture laws. The MPs have been on protest since from December 7.
 
"The government should call a special session of Parliament on issues related to farmers and to address the demand for withdrawal of farm laws. The government wants to end the movement of farmers and that is why Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attacking the opposition parties," Rawat told the media here.
 
He said all opposition parties will support the issue of farmers if a special session of Parliament is called.

Nagaur MP Beniwal resigns from three parliamentary panels in support of farmers' stir

Rajasthan's Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal on Saturday resigned from three parliamentary committees in support of farmers' agitation against the Centre's agriculture-related laws. Beniwal, a convener of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party and the BJP's ally at the Centre, submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
 
"I had raised various people-centric issues with the committees I was part of in Parliament. It is sad that action has not been taken on the issues. There is no justification for committees in the parliamentary system if action is not taken," Beniwal said in a statement.
 
He further said, "As the issues remained unheard and due to the farmers' agitation, I am tendering my resignation from the committees."
 
Beniwal was a member of parliamentary committees on industries; petroleum and natural gas; and petitions. He has been supporting the farmers' agitation against three farm laws enacted by the Centre. He had demanded that the laws be withdrawn and asked the Centre to implement recommendations of the Swaminathan commission on farmers.

PM Modi backs farm laws, says farmers have started getting their benefits

Prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday indicated that the controversial farm laws would not be repealed, saying farmers have started getting benefits of agricultural reforms.
 
Addressing an Assocham event, Modi said the country has made up its mind to embrace the changes in various rules and regulations being made by his government to meet the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
 
"Agricultural reforms that we undertook six months back have started benefiting farmers," he emphasised. Modi said his government has repealed more than 1500 archaic laws and is continuously making efforts to frame new legislations. "The country has made up its mind, the country is committed to changes in rules and regulations that the government is making to achieve the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat," he said. READ ON...

Farmers' protest: BSP chief Mayawati demands withdrawal of new farm laws

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday demanded withdrawal of the new farm laws amid the ongoing farmer protests against the three laws formulated by the Central government.
 
Mayawati on Saturday tweeted, "The Central government should not be dogmatic with the agitated farmers about the three new farm laws recently implemented in the country but must adopt a sympathetic attitude towards them and must accept their demands. The three farm laws should be withdrawn immediately, this is the only demand of the BSP."
 
Earlier, Mayawati had lent her support to the 'Bharat Bandh' observed by the farmers in the national capital against the new farm laws. She had said that farmers are protesting all over the country to withdraw the three new laws related to agriculture and the BSP supports the call for 'Bharat Bandh' by the farmer organisations. The party also appealed to the Centre to accept all the demands put forth by the farmers. READ ON...

 

Mayawati demands withdrawal of farm laws

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday demanded withdrawal of the new farm laws amid the ongoing farmer protests against the three laws formulated by the Central government.

Mayawati on Saturday tweeted, "The Central government should not be dogmatic with the agitated farmers about the three new farm laws recently implemented in the country but must adopt a sympathetic attitude towards them and must accept their demands. The three farm laws should be withdrawn immediately, this is the only demand of the BSP."

BJP leader and ex-Union minister Birender Singh extends support to farmers' agitation

Former Union minister and senior BJP leader Birender Singh has extended his support to the ongoing farmers' agitation against the three agriculture-marketing laws passed by the Centre.

Singh is grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, a prominent politician during the pre-independence era who championed the interest of farmers.

Singh, whose son Brijendra is a sitting BJP MP, said it was his moral responsibility to stand with the farmers who he said are "worried" as they fear the new legislations will have an "impact" on their economic condition.

"Whatever I have achieved in politics, would not have been possible had I not been the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram," Singh said on Friday.

"Therefore, it is my moral responsibility to stand with the farmers in their fight today and, therefore, I have decided to support this (farmers') fight," said Singh, a prominent Jat leader in Haryana.

Singh further said that he along with his supporters will soon observe a symbolic hunger strike in Haryana's districts bordering Delhi.

Under the banner of Chaudhary Chhotu Ram Vichar Manch, the former Union minister along with his supporters had sat on a protest at Rohtak on Friday.

SP, BSP hit out at BJP over farm laws

The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party hit out at the BJP on Saturday over the farmers' protest against the agri-marketing laws.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav called the contentious laws a clamp for the farmers.

"The BJP didn't allow the farmers to have the slightest idea of the farm laws before making them. Now, they are pretending to make them understand the benefits of the legislations by holding farmers convention," Yadav said.

"The truth is the farmers will really benefit only after the implementation of the Swaminathan report," Yadav said. "Only then, the farmers' income will double."

In a tweet on Saturday, BSP president Mayawati said: "The central government should adopt a sympathetic approach, and not be stubborn, while dealing with the protesting farmers and accept their demands.

"The BSP demands that the three new farm laws should be withdrawn," she added.

Chidambaram attacks PM Modi on farmers issue

Amid a deadlock between the agitating farmers and the Centre, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the latter has accused the opposition of "spreading lies".
 
In a statement, Chidambaram said: "(The) Prime Minister has once again accused the opposition of 'spreading lies'. Here are three so-called lies that he may wish to comment upon, AIKSCC, which is coordinating the farmers' protests, has said that farmers are selling paddy at Rs 900 per quintal though the MSP is Rs 1,870 per quintal. Is that a lie?
 
"A Delhi court that acquitted Tablighi Jamaat members said it is probable that the accused were picked up to maliciously prosecute them upon directions from the MHA. Is that a lie? The CBI has contradicted the UP police and charged four accused of gangrape and murder of the the Hathras victim. Is that a lie?"

New farm laws not brought overnight: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that the farm laws were not brought overnight and even opposition parties advocated such laws but are criticising these reforms now as they are upset because Modi has done it.

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