LIVE: Ready for talks, but need concrete proposal, say farmer unions

Farmers from Haryana gather at Singhu border near Delhi as they join protests against laws liberalising agricultural markets. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)
Farmers' protest LIVE updates Day 28: Protesting farmer unions on Wednesday asked the government to not repeat "meaningless" amendments to the new agri laws that they have already rejected but come up a concrete proposal in writing for another round of talks. Addressing a press conference, a farmer leader said they were ready for talks, but the government should send a concrete proposal for that to happen.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) chief Sheoraj Singh today wrote a letter in blood to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws that have stoked massive protests by farmers' unions in north India. 

A group of protesters showed black flags to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday and even tried to block his convoy in Ambala City, as demonstrations were held in several other states in support of the thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, who are on a sit-in since November 26 on the borders of the national capital, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws.

While a couple of farmer unions have been on a sit-in on the Delhi-Noida border against the farm laws, a group of protesters, mainly residents of Jewar and Dadri in Greater Noida, came out on roads in support of the laws and was stopped by police at Mahamaya Flyover.

Stay tuned for farmers' protest LIVE UPDATES


Amid shivering cold in Delhi, Sikh body donates 700 geysers to protesting farmers

The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on Wednesday provided 700 water geysers to the farmers protesting against the Centre's farm laws at the national capital's borders in the biting cold. Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and some other states have been camping at several entry points of Delhi for nearly a month, demanding the Centre repeal the three farm laws.

"We are doing everything to help the farmers in their struggle. In view of the severe cold, DSGMC distributed 700 geysers among the protesting farmers at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders," said DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa. The Committee has also provided woolens, body warmers and other winter wear among the protesters, he said.

Besides, langars (community kitchens) and night shelters have also been set up at the protest venues. Medicines and ambulance facility are also being provided to the agitating farmers, he added.

Left parties' stand on farm laws hypocritical: BJP

Terming the Left parties' stand on three recent farm laws "hypocritical", the BJP accused them on Wednesday of "exploiting" farmers while they were in power in Tripura, Kerala and West Bengal. Wherever the Left parties were in power, there was "nothing left" for farmers and the economy, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters here. "For 25 years, till 2018, there was a Left government in Tripura. I feel sad to say that there was no MSP in the state for 25 years. Today, Left leaders are acting as well-wishers of farmers, but all they did was exploit them.

"The first thing the BJP did after coming to power in Tripura in 2018 was the procurement of paddy. As much as 48,716 tonnes of paddy were procured from 27,735 farmers at an expenditure of Rs 86.65 crore," he said. Under the Left government, farmers in Tripura were selling rice for Rs 10-12 per kg. Under the BJP government, they are selling it for Rs 18.50, Patra claimed.

He also said the agricultural growth rate was 6.4 per cent when the Left was in power in Tripura in 2017-2018. "In two consecutive years -- 2018-19 and 2019-2020
-- it rose to 13.5 per cent," he said. "Wherever there is the Left, farmers have been exploited," the BJP spokesperson alleged.

Stalin slams Modi over farmers issue, ask him to repeal laws

DMK chief M K Stalin on Wednesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the continuing agitation by farmers in Delhi, accusing him of not taking steps to end their nearly a month long protest. Also charging Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami with betraying farmers by backing the Centre's new farm laws, he alleged the laws would wreck the livelihoods of farmers.

Launching the first of the over 16,000 "grama sabhas" planned by his party under its "werejectadmk" campaign in the run-up to the assembly polls at a nearby village, he said 'action' would be initiated against Palaniswami and other Ministers over alleged corruption once DMK returned to power. He hit out at arch-rival AIADMK for supporting the passage of the Bills in Parliament.

Farmers have observed hunger strike and were continuing their protest for over 25 days despite the severe cold wave conditions in the national capital region. "Families of farmers who arrive in tractors, cook and eat on the spot of protest. They have put tents. They protest alongwith their children. Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi invite them for talks with him? Did he take steps for resolving the issue. No," he claimed. He appealed to Modi to announce the repeal of the three farm laws, make the farmers joyous and shield agriculture, saying it is the country's backbone.

Shed arrogance, repeal farm laws: Congress to PM

The Congress on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shed his arrogance and repeal the farm laws to help initiate dialogue with agitating farmers. The opposition party said the government should repeal these laws and bring fresh ones after consultations with all stakeholders.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram asked the government to shed its "inflexible position" and heed to the Supreme Court's suggestion by keeping the three farm laws in abeyance and bring new ones in their place. "By taking an inflexible position that the farm laws will not be repealed, the government has effectively aborted the talks before they can be resumed.

Government should heed the suggestion of the Supreme Court and keep the farm laws in abeyance during the period of the talks,"he said in a series of tweets.

Kisan Sena to march to Delhi in support of farm laws on Thursday

Farmer union Kisan Sena said thousands of its members from western Uttar Pradesh will march to Delhi on Thursday in support of the Centre's new agriculture laws. The march will have members joining from the Braj area, which includes districts like Mathura, Agra, Firozabad, Hathras and also have supporters joining from Meerut and Muzaffarnagar in western UP, the union said.

"We have written to the authorities concerned for permission regarding our march to Delhi but have not got reply. In any case, around 20,000 of Kisan Sena supporters will be en route to Delhi to meet Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday," Kisan Sena convener Thakur Gauri Shankar Singh told PTI. "We want to meet the minister and inform him that the ongoing protests on Delhi's borders by unions from Punjab and Haryana no doubt comprise farmers but they do not represent farmers of all India or other states like UP," Singh said.

He added that his faction will apprise the government of the issues that affect farmers in other states and in UP.

Attempt to murder case against 13 farmers for blocking Haryana CM's convoy

The Haryana Police booked 13 farmers on charges of attempt to murder and rioting on Wednesday, a day after a group of people protesting against the Centre's farm laws allegedly blocked Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's convoy and hurled sticks at it. The opposition Congress has criticised the move with its state chief Kumari Selja saying it showed the government's desperation.

On Tuesday, a group of protesting farmers had shown black flags to Khattar when his convoy was passing through Ambala City. Khattar was in the city to address public meetings in support of the party's candidates for the upcoming civic body polls. Farmers had waved black flags at the chief minister's convoy while it was crossing Agrasen Chowk. They also raised slogans against the government

Police on Wednesday said some farmers tried to charge towards the convoy and blocked its movement for some time. They said some of them hurled sticks at some vehicles. Reacting to it, Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja said the Haryana government has crossed all the limits by registering the case against the farmers.

Petrol pumps at Tikri border face losses as a result of reduced sales due to farmers' protest

Dialogue way forward to resolve issues raised by farmers: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday emphasised that dialogue was the way forward in resolving the issues raised by the protesting farmers. Interacting with a group of 'progressive farmers' at his Hyderabad residence to mark 'Kisan Diwas', Naidu said any issue could be resolved through talks. He pointed out that the government has already declared that it was always ready to hold a dialogue with the farmers' organisations, an official statement said.
Thousands of farmers have been camping at various border points of the national capital for almost four weeks now. Protesting farmer unions, who have stuck to their demand for a complete repeal of all the three agri laws, have not yet conveyed their decision on the central government's offer for fresh talks.
The government has sent a draft proposal to unions offering at least seven amendments to the three legislations that were enacted in September. At least five rounds of formal talks with the protesting unions have failed to break the deadlock, but a number of other farm groups have been meeting the government in the meantime to extend their support to the new laws.

Ready for talks, but govt should send concrete proposal: Protesting farmer unions

Protesting farmer unions on Wednesday asked the government to not repeat "meaningless" amendments to the new agri laws that they have already rejected but come up a concrete proposal in writing for another round of talks. Addressing a press conference, a farmer leader said they were ready for talks, but the government should send a concrete proposal for that to happen.
"We have already told Home Minister Amit Shah that protesting farmers will not accept amendments," farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said.
"Farmer unions are ready to talk to the government and are waiting for the government to come to the table with an open mind," said Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav.
All India Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Molla claimed the government wanted to tire the farmers out so that the protest would end.

Govt wants to delay this issue and break morale of protesting farmers: Bhartiya Kisan Union

Govt wants to tire us out so farmers' protest ends: All India Kisan Sabha leader

Take farm bills back: BKU chief in letter written in blood to PM Modi

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) chief Sheoraj Singh on Wednesday wrote a letter in blood to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws that have stoked massive protests by farmers' unions in north India. The letter by Singh, who is camping at the Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida along with his faction members since December 2, came as protestors marked the birth anniversary of former prime minister and farmers' leader Chaudhary Charan Singh.
"Take back the agriculture bill, make law to ensure guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) and form a kisaan aayog (farmers commission)," he wrote in the brief letter addressed to PM Modi.
BKU (Lok Shakti) spokesperson Shailesh Kumar Giri said the letter has been handed over to the Noida administration, whose officials have assured that it would be forwarded to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
"I have received the letter from the farmers' union which has been written in blood. The letter will be sent to the Prime Minister's Officer through our district magistrate, as per procedures," Noida City Magistrate Uma Shankar told PTI.

Farmers Protests LIVE: United Farmers Front today writes a letter to govt

Case against 13 farmers in Haryana for blocking CM Khattar's convoy

Haryana Police has registered a case against 13 farmers on various charges including attempt to murder and rioting after a group of peasants protesting against the Centre's new farm laws had allegedly blocked and hurled sticks at Chief Minister M L Khattar's convoy.
On Tuesday, agroup of protesting farmers had showed black flags to Khattar when his convoy was passing through Ambala City. Some of the farmers had allegedly tried to block Khattar's motorcade but police managed to provide a safe passage to the chief minister after some time. The case against the farmers was registered late Tuesday on the complaint of some security personnel.
Police on Wednesday said some farmers tried to charge towards the convoy and blocked its movement for some time. They said some farmers also allegedly hurled sticks towards some vehicles in the motorcade.

Farmers' protest: BKU spokesperson says dialogue only way, ready for discussion with govt

As the farmers' protest entered its 27th day on Wednesday, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday said a solution will come out through dialogue and his organization is ready for it. Speaking to ANI, Tikait said that farmers under the BKU will not accept anything less than a complete rollback of the laws.
"The solution will come only out of a dialogue. If the government wants to talk, we are ready. The government wants this bill to be amended. We don't want that we want a repeal of the law. The government has refused to withdraw the law," he said.
When asked about some farmer leaders writing a letter to Britain MPs who are from Indian origin asking them to stop UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson from attending the Republic Day event in India, Tikait said: "The committee will take a decision on this. Some Britain MPs are supporting our protest. Boris Johnson had earlier said that he supports our protest and this matter should be settled. To write such a letter is not on our agenda."

Jailed activists in Maharashtra on hunger strike to back farmers' stir

Various activists arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links' case are observing a day-long hunger strike on Wednesday at Taloja jail in Maharashtra in support of farmers who are protesting against the Centre's new farm laws. The activists, in a joint statement on the occasion of the National Farmers' Day, said they are lodged in the jail in Navi Mumbai and cannot participate physically in the farmers' agitation.
Hence, they are observing a day-long symbolic hunger strike in the jail.
"The demands you (farmers) have raised are absolutely right and just," they said in the statement, conveyed through advocate Nihalsingh Rathod.
The activists currently behind bars in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links' case include Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Anand Teltumbde, Hany Babu, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Father Stan Swamy, Gautam Navlakha and Rona Wilson, Rathod said.

Will fill all gaps in agriculture sector and benefit farmers: Narendra Singh Tomar

I'm hopeful of a solution: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar

Five TMC MPs meet farmers on relay hunger strike at Singhu border

Following Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee's direction, five lawmakers of the party on Wednesday met and interacted with farmers who are on a relay hunger strike at Singhu border. The five MPs include Derek O'Brien, Satabdi Roy, Prasun Banerjee, Pratima Mondal and Md Nadimul Haque.
Earlier, TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari had said his party will not only keep on fighting for farmers' rights but will also continue to work together to strengthen the democracy. The agitating farmer unions recently announced a relay hunger strike and appealed to citizens to skip a meal on December 23 on the occasion of 'Kisan Diwas'.
They further said that they had also decided to make the Haryana toll plaza free from December 25 to December 27.
Even after several rounds of talks with the government, farmers have been protesting on different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws-Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Mamata Banerjee interacts with protesting farmers in Delhi, assures TMC's support

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday spoke to farmers protesting in Delhi against the Centre's new agriculture laws and assured them that her party stands by them, a TMC leader said. The ruling party in West Bengal had recently sent a five-member delegation to interact with the farmers who were on a day-long 'relay' hunger strike on Monday at all sites of protest on Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
"Our party supremo spoke to protesting farmers over the phone. Some of them requested her to visit the 'dharna' sites. She assured them that the party supports their demand," a TMC leader said.
Thousands of agriculturists, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the Centre's reform measures for the last over four weeks at various border points of Delhi and demanding that the laws be repealed. Earlier this month, Banerjee had interacted with the agitating farmers over the phone.

PM Modi will not let farmers' interests to be hurt: Rajnath Singh

Paying tribute to former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh on his birth anniversary, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday asserted that PM Narendra Modi drew inspiration from the late leader and would not let interests of farmers to be hurt.
"I remember and salute Chaudhary Charan Singh ji, former Prime Minister and a pioneer among the most respected farmer leaders of the country, on the occasion of his birth anniversary. Chaudhary Saheb continued to voice the problems of farmers during his lifetime and worked for their welfare. The country will always remember his contribution," Rajnath said in a series of tweets in Hindi.
He said that Chaudhary Charan Singh wanted an increase in the income of farmers, remunerative prices for their crops and protection of their honour. "Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew inspiration from him and took several steps for the welfare of farmers. He will not let their interests get hurt."
"Today, on the occasion of 'Kisan Diwas', I greet all the contributors of the country. They have provided the country with food security. Some farmers are agitated about agricultural laws. The government is talking to them with full sensitivity. I hope that they will withdraw their protest soon," he added.

ED arrests main accused in the PMLA investigation into the Rs 6,380 crores Agri Gold Ponzi Scam

ED has arrested Avva Venkata Rama Rao, Avva Venkata Seshu Narayana Rao, and Avva Hema Sundara Vara Prasad who are the main accused in the PMLA investigation into the Rs 6,380 crores Agri Gold Ponzi Scam: Enforcement Directorate

MP Minister Narottam Mishra hits out at Congress leaders supporting farmers

Congress leader Kamal Nath, who never visited farms of a farmer in 15 months, will ride a tractor. Rahul Gandhi, who drove 'sofa-cum-tractor', doesn't even know if potatoes grow above or below the ground: MP Minister Narottam Mishra on Congress supporting farmers' agitation

Kisan Diwas: Farmers perform 'havan' at Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur

Farmers perform 'havan' at Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur on the occasion of birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.

Kisan Diwas 2020: All you need to know about Farmers' Day amid protests

For nearly a month, a group representing farmers from across India are not on their fields but on the streets, surrounding the country’s national capital, Delhi, to fight for their ‘survival’. 
India’s BJP-led government recently passed three farm laws, which the government claims will help reform the agriculture sector. The three farm laws, according to the government, will help in bringing private investment to the farm sector, help the farmers sell their produce to anyone they wish to and loosen the hold of APMC ‘mandis’.  Read on...

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