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India's Farmers' Protest: What is Known so Far

© AP Photo / Rajesh SacharFarmers on tractors march to New Delhi near the Punjab-Haryana border at Shambhu, India, Tuesday, Feb.13, 2024.
Farmers on tractors march to New Delhi near the Punjab-Haryana border at Shambhu, India, Tuesday, Feb.13, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 13.02.2024
The Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana states witnessed chaotic scenes on Tuesday as police used tear gas to disperse scores of farmers marching towards Delhi to press their various demands on the Modi government.
Scores of farmers from Punjab and Haryana states are on their way to Delhi as part of “Delhi Chalo” (Let's go to Delhi) march called by at least 200 farmer unions.
Haryana State Police used tear gas to disperse the farmers at Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday and even detained a few of them.
The tear gas came after protesting farmers removed the barricades at the crossing. According to media reports, farmers even brought trollies filled with mud to spread on the nails placed by the police to stop the movement of tractors.
The march was called by farmer unions to press their demands on the federal government, including:
enactment of a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) for crops;
implementation of Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations to provide debt waivers;
withdrawal from WTO and imposition of ban on all Free Trade Agreements (FTA);
allocation of pensions to farmers and farm laborers;
scrapping of Electricity Amendment Bill 2020;
compensation for the families of farmers who lost their lives during the 2020-2021 agitation;
200 days of employment per year with a daily wage of INR 700 ($8.43).

Farmers-Minister Meeting

Following more than five hours of an inconclusive meeting between farmers’ leaders and three federal ministers on Monday, the farmers vowed to continue with the march.
There was a reported consensus on repealing the Electricity Act 2020, compensation to farmers killed in Lakhimpur Kheri, and the withdrawal of cases landed against farmers during the farmers' movement of 2020-21. However, there was deadlock on three key demands – enactment of a law to guarantee a Minimum Support Price for all crops, farmer loan waiver and the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations.
After the meeting, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee’s Sarwan Singh Pandher said that the march will continue as the government has not agreed to the three main demands.
“Two years ago, the government had promised to meet half of our demands in writing... We wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. But the government is not sincere. They just want to waste time,” Pandher said.

Punjab & Haryana High Court Asks States to Designate Area for Protest

Meanwhile, Punjab and Haryana High Courts asked states to identify a designated area for the farmers to stage protest on Tuesday.
It asked the states of Punjab, Haryana and the federal government to file a status report on the issue.
The court gave its observation while hearing a plea filed against the suspension of internet services in several districts of Haryana and the sealing of borders.
As of now, the matter has been adjourned to February 15.

Government Ready to Talk: Agriculture Minister

On the other hand, the agriculture minister has said that the government is ready to talk and resolve the issue but some unruly elements are trying to hijack the march.

“Two rounds of talks with farmers were inconclusive. Further discussion is necessary to reach a solution and we are ready to find a way out,” Shri Arjun Munda said while talking to local media.

He further said that the farmers should have faith in the government and not let others take advantage.
“There are many forces among them who are trying to defame the farmers. Avoid such people. The government is committed to the interests of the farmers,” he said.

Security Stepped Up in Delhi

The security arrangements in Delhi - especially at border areas of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh - have been stepped up as police personnel have been deployed, temporary police posts have been established and cemented barricades have been placed.
Apart from this, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) also announced that multiple gates at several stations may be closed on Tuesday as per security instructions.
The metro stations where gates might remain closed include Central Secretariat, Rajiv Chowk, Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Janpath, Khan Market, and Lok Kalyan Marg.
A police officer is seen at the gate of a building housing BBC office in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 11.02.2024
Political Affairs
Security Beefed Up in Delhi Ahead of Farmers' March
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