Farmer leaders threaten to block Jaipur highway
The farmer unions leading the protests at the borders of Delhi on Wednesday rejected the proposal sent by the Centre to end the impasse over the new farm laws and said the ongoing protest will further intensify from now on. The farmers said they will block the Delhi-Jaipur national highway by December 12 and hold a nationwide protest on December 14, if the government does not roll back the laws.
“The government tried to take us for granted. They thought we are uneducated farmers and will accept anything that they will offer us. We want to tell the government that we are educated. Many of us are postgraduates, some are law graduates and others doctors. We have told the government that we will accept nothing short of complete roll-back of the three new laws and a guarantee on minimum support price (MSP),” said Kulwant Singh Sandhu, 65, general secretary of Jamhuri Kisan Sabha, who was one of the 35 farmer leaders holding talks with the Union government.
The protest against the farm laws has been going at Delhi borders since November 27. On Tuesday, the farmers unions had enforced a Bharat Bandh (nationwide strike) from 11am to 3pm, which was peaceful. The central government has held five rounds of talks with the farmer leaders, but no breakthrough has been achieved.
Union home minister Amit Shah had called the farmer leaders on Tuesday evening and informed them that a list of proposal will be shared with them. That list, with seven proposed amendments, was handed over to the leaders of 13 farmer unions on Wednesday.
The government had agreed to give a written assurance on continuing the MSP, one of the main concerns of farmers. It had also tried to allay their fears over mandis (marketplace) and taking over of farmlands by big corporates.
President of Krantikari Kisan Union Darshan Pal said, “There was nothing new in the proposal sent by the government on Wednesday. We will block all the remaining border points of Delhi, starting with the Jaipur-Delhi highway if the government does not come up with a solution soon. We will also protest outside the offices of BJP leaders, MPs and MLAs on December 12 and will show them black flags.”
Sandhu said thousands more farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan will join the protest at Delhi borders. “There was panchayat elections in Rajasthan and that’s why farmers could not join us from there until now. Now they will come and block the highway (Delhi-Jaipur),” he said.
Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU)’s Tikait faction in Uttar Pradesh, said more farmers will join the protest at the Ghazipur border as well. “Farmers are angry and disheartened. We will intensify the ongoing protest on the Delhi-Meerut highway over the next few days,” he said.
Charan Singh, 75, a farmer from Muzaffarnagar, said he had served over two decades with the army before returning to his village and starting farming. “I served 20 years at the border so that my fellow citizens can sleep peacefully in their houses. Today, the government has made me leave my home and sleep on roads. We just want the government to understand that they
can’t impose these black laws on us.”