‘Only farmers with verified credentials will join protest at Jantar Mantar’
As the farmers protesting against the Centre’s three new farm laws launched an agitation on Thursday at the Jantar Mantar, farmer leaders at the UP Gate site said that they have made elaborate arrangements so that no unverified person moves to the protest site in New Delhi.
The farmer leaders are treading cautiously this time as their tractor march on January 26 this year ended up in incidents of violence. The Delhi Police had registered FIRs against several farmer leaders in connection with the violence while the latter maintained that the trouble creators during the tractor march were outsiders.
“We are sending only those people to the Jantar Mantar whose credentials are verified. Such people in different groups will move to the Jantar Mantar in a bus from Singhu Border and return in the evening the same day. We have adopted a more disciplined approach to our protest,” said Jagtar Singh Bajwa, UP Gate site spokesperson of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of different farmer organisations.
The contingents of 200 farmers each will reach the Jantar Mantar to protest against the agri laws and hold their own “Kisan Sansad” on each of the working day of the Parliament until the Monsoon session ends, the SKM said in a statement on Thursday. The session is likely to conclude on August 13.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said that the farmers have been strictly told that no one other than those verified will move out of the UP Gate site for the protest at the Jantar Mantar.
“We have also decided that only three members from one organisation will go to Delhi and one of these three will be a farmer leader. This means that for every two protesting farmers, we will have one leader who will ensure that they strictly follow the route and other norms,” said Dharmendra Malik, national media coordinator for the BKU.
On Thursday, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait was among the members of the first group of farmers that left for Singhu Border to join the protest at the Jantar Mantar.
“Our panchayat in Delhi is named as ‘Kisan Sansad’. Our people carrying their identity cards will take part in the protest at Jantar Mantar,” Tikait said at the UP Gate site before leaving for Singhu Border.
The farmers are protesting at the UP Gate site since November 26 last year, demanding rollback of the new farm laws and a new law on minimum support price.
Last year, the Parliament passed three laws -- The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
While the government said these laws would be beneficial to the agriculture sector, farmers say that they would severely affect their livelihood. The farmer leaders and the representatives of the government have held 11 rounds of talks but the stalemate continues. The last time the two parties held talks was on January 22.