LIVE: Protesting farmers write to Centre, put up 4-point agenda for talks

A farmer shout slogans during a protest against farm bills at Singhu Border in New Delhi on Thursday.
Farmers' protest LIVE updates Day 33: Protesting farmer unions on Tuesday wrote to the Centre on the talks scheduled between the two sides on Wednesday, saying the discussion will only be on the modalities of repealing the three legislation and giving a legal guarantee on the MSP. The Centre has invited 40 protesting farmer unions for the sixth round of talks on December 30 on all relevant issues to find a "logical solution" with "open mind" to the prolonged impasse over the three new agri laws.

As the number of farmers agitating at the protest epicentre Singhu border point in Delhi since November 28 swelled with new protesters joining the stir, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said a "wall of lies" had been spread in a "planned manner" among farmers against the agri laws, but it would not last long and the protesters would soon realise the truth. Tomar also said he was hopeful of an early solution to the impasse.

 
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed police to take strict action against those involved in vandalisation of mobile towers and disruption of telecom services in the state during the farmers' stir against the agri laws. A total of 1,561 mobile towers have been impacted in the state, according to an official statement. The state has a total of 21,306 mobile towers spread across its 22 districts.

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LIVE UPDATES

Gehlot writes to PM demanding waiver of outstanding farm loans

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday demanding a waiver of the outstanding loans taken by farmers from nationalised and Bhoomi Vikas banks. According to an RTI reply, the Modi government, in its first tenure, had waived loans amounting to Rs 7.95 lakh crore of industrialists, but had not done anything for farmers, Gehlot said in a statement.


After the formation of the Congress government in Rajasthan in 2018, the loans of 20.56 lakh people worth Rs 8,000 crore were waived in the state, he added. "I had to write a letter again to the prime minister to remind him about waiving the loans of farmers as the PM, during a rally in Madhya Pradesh on December 18, said the farmers of Rajasthan were waiting for a loan waiver. It is not a reality. No farmer, who had taken a loan from a cooperative bank, is waiting for a waiver," Gehlot said.


He said only those farmers, who had taken loans from nationalised and commercial banks that are under the Centre's purview, are waiting for a waiver. The chief minister said the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had waived loans worth Rs 72,000 crore of farmers taken from nationalised banks.

Centre working for corporations, not bothered about farmers: SP leaders

The Centre is working in the interest of corporations and is not bothered about the farmers protesting at Delhi's border in this cold weather, Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders alleged here on Tuesday as the opposition party reached out to the community over the new farm laws brought by the government. SP workers met farmers in Jhandupura village and extended support to those protesting against the three new laws brought by the Centre, which "are being forced" on them.


"The farmers are asking that when they are not in favour of the laws, then why is the government not listening to them," the Noida unit of the party said in a statement. Local SP leader Raghvendra Dubey accused the Centre of working in the interest of corporations through the 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.

Congress demands legal sanctity to farmers' demands; says bring new laws

Ahead of crucial talks between the Centre and agitating farmers, the Congress on Wednesday demanded legal sanctity to the demands of farmers, including that on ensuring minimum support price. Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders Rajeev Shukla and Govind Dotasra said the government must immediately repeal the three new farm laws and bring fresh ones after incorporating the demands of farmers.


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet that the youth, public and farmers are being attacked by the Modi government. "Unemployment has hit the youth, public is facing atrocities on account of inflation and the farmers are attacked with the new laws of 'friends'. This is the Modi government," he tweeted in Hindi, citing a news report that claimed that 35 lakh jobs were taken away in the country in the month of November due to the lockdown.


Shukla said it was also wrong on the part of the government to dub the farmers agitation as "political". He said the agitation is spread across the country with farmers of various states protesting against the farm laws, adding that it was wrong to say that farmers of only Punjab and half of Haryana were protesting. "The government is promising to bring provisions (after accepting the demands of farmers) in the farm laws, but is not giving legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP). We demand that if farmers are ready, MSP should be part of the law and the Parliament should pass them.

Aam Aadmi Party to provide free Wi-Fi to protesting farmers

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday announced free Wi-Fi facility to farmers protesting against the Centre's 'black' agriculture laws at Singhu border, Delhi. It said this would help them address the problem of Internet, so that they can respond to the anti-struggle campaigners. The announcement was made virtually by AAP Punjab co-in charge and MLA Raghav Chadha.
 
Chadha said the party was working as a 'sevadar' to provide facilities to the benefactors of the country during the agitation. He said it was decided by AAP's National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to install Wi-Fi hotspots to help farmers make video calls and connect with family members back home.
 
He said the party had taken this decision keeping in view the fact that farmers sitting hundreds of miles away from their homes were finding it difficult to communicate with their families.

Protesting farmers write to Centre, take hard line on agendas for Dec 30 talks

Protesting farmer unions on Tuesday wrote to the Centre on the talks scheduled between the two sides on Wednesday, saying the discussion will only be on the modalities of repealing the three legislation and giving a legal guarantee on the MSP. The government has invited the protesting farmers for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday.
 
In its letter on Tuesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which represents 40 farmer unions, said the discussion will be only on modalities for the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee on MSP.
 
The Morcha further said the agenda of the meeting should also include amendments to be made and notified in the Commission for the Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 to exclude farmers from its penal provisions. Through the letter, the Morcha also formally accepted the government's invitation for the dialogue.

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti hits out at Centre over Farm Laws

Don't vandalise telecom towers, farmers' leaders appeal from Delhi

With more than 1,500 mobile phone towers having been vandalised in Punjab amid protests over the three farm laws, farmer leaders at the agitation site on the Delhi border on Tuesday appealed that these vital infrastructure should not be damaged. Denying any role in the damaging the telecom towers, farmer leaders, in their appeal from the Singhu border where their agitation entered 34th day, said the mobile tower and infrastructure of any company should not be damaged as their call was only on boycotting a company.
 
Reports say the protesting villagers have cut power supplies and fibre cables and damaged generators.
 
Krantikari Kisan Union President Dharampal said their focus of struggle was only on boycotting and nothing else. Of the 1,561 mobile towers affected over the past few days owing to farmers' agitations, 146 were impacted in Monday due to disruption of power supply to 32 towers that led to the disconnection of services of the remaining 114.
 

Anti-farm bill demonstration lathi charged in Patna, several injured

Several people were injured here on Tuesday in a lathi charge at a busy crossing in the heart of the city when police personnel tried to stop a procession, taken out in protest against the farm laws from heading towards the Raj Bhavan.
 
Traffic was thrown out of gear as thousands of protestors, comprising members of various farmers organizations and pro-Left outfits, marched through Frazer Road before they were thwarted at the Dak Bungalow crossing.
 
According to police, the crack down at Dak Bungalow crossing was preceded by skirmishes between the demonstrators and police and administrative officials at the Gandhi Maidan, the starting point of the rally, where agitators took exception to their entry being allowed inside the sprawling public ground only through one of the many gates. READ ON...

Govt bulldozed three farm laws; agriculture can't be run sitting in Delhi: Sharad Pawar

NCP supremo and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday accused the Centre of bulldozing three new farm laws without consulting states and asserted that agriculture cannot be run "sitting in Delhi" as it involves farmers toiling in distant villages.
 
As farmers' protest on Delhi borders against these laws has entered its second month and five rounds of talks so far have failed to resolve the crisis, Pawar also raised questions about the composition of the three-member ministerial group negotiating with the unions, saying the ruling party should have put forward leaders with "in-depth" understanding of agriculture and farmers' issues.
 
In an interview with PTI, the former union minister said the government needs to take the protests seriously and it was "unfair" on the part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to blame opposition parties for the agitation by farmers.

Free WiFi hotspots to be set up at Singhu for protesting farmers: AAP's Raghav Chadha

Free WiFi hotspots will be set up at Singhu border for the protesting farmers, AAP leader Raghav Chadha said on Tuesday. Addressing a press conference, he said the decision has been taken by "farmers' 'sevadar Arvind Kejriwal".
 
"We want the farmers to stay in touch with their family. We have identified a few spots to install the WiFi hotspots. This is an initiative of Arvind Kejriwal and the party," Chadha said. He said more such hotspots will be installed if there is more demand.
 
Farmers from various parts of the country have been camping at different border points of Delhi for over a month now to demand repeal of the three agri laws, which were voted through in Parliament in September amid strong protests by opposition parties. Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party have come out strongly in support of protesting farmers. Earlier this month, he had visited Singhu border, one of the protest sites, and reviewed arrangements made for farmers by the AAP-led city government.

Free WiFi hotspots will be set up at Singhu border for protesting farmers: AAP leader Raghav Chadha

Anna Hazare to launch agitation in support of farmers in Delhi next month

Social activist Anna Hazare on Monday said he will launch an agitation in New Delhi in January on issues concerning farmers. In his letter dated December 28, issued from his native village Ralegan Siddhi of Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, he said, that he has decided to again sit protest in Delhi from next month.
 
On December 15, Hazare wrote to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and warned of resuming hunger strike if the Centre does not fulfil his demands including the implementation of the recommendations made by MS Swaminathan Commission.
 
Hazare said if the government implements the recommendations made by the MS Swaminathan Commission, only then will the suicide cases of farmers can be stopped. Vegetables, fruit, milk's Minimum Support Price (MSP) should also determined, he demanded. However, the release did not provide the date of launch of the agitation.

Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti hold protest march over three farm laws

Farmers' protest: Western Railways diverts trains in Punjab again

Amid farmers' agitation in Punjab against the three recently enacted farm Acts, Western Railway diverted a few trains in the state.
 
According to an official release, train number 02903, 'Mumbai Central - Amritsar Special', which departed from Mumbai on December 28, will be diverted via Beas - Tarn Taran - Amritsar instead of Beas - Jandiala - Amritsar.
 
Similarly, train number 02904 'Amritsar - Mumbai Central Special' whose journey will commence on December 29, 2020, will be diverted via Amritsar - Tarn Taran - Beas instead of Amritsar - Jandiala - Beas.

Farmers protesting over new agri laws perform yoga on Delhi-Noida highway

Farmers demonstrating against the Centre's new agri laws on Monday performed yoga on the Delhi-Noida Link Road at the Chilla border where they have been camping for 28 days now.
 
The road remained closed for Noida to Delhi movement but was open for commuters travelling from Delhi to Noida, according to a police official. Read on.....

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