Punjab CM welcomes Centre’s decision to allow protesting farmers to enter Delhi
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Friday welcomed the Centre’s decision to allow farmers from his state and Haryana, protesting against the three farm laws enacted earlier this year, to enter Delhi and continue with their demonstration peacefully. The Punjab chief minister also renewed his appeal to the Centre to initiate talks with the farmers to resolve the simmering issue.
“The Centre should now move quickly towards holding further talks with the Kisan Unions to thrash out the problem triggered by the agricultural legislations which have threatened the lives and livelihoods of the farmers,” Singh said in a statement.
Singh’s comments came minutes after Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava said that the agitating farmers will be permitted inside the national capital and hold a peaceful protest at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in the city’s Burari area. Expecting a possible law and order challenge, the Delhi Police earlier in the day sought permission from the state government to turn nine of the city’s stadiums into temporary detention centres for the protesting farmers. The Arvind Kejriwal government, however, turned down the request.
Singh also slammed the Manohar Khattar-led government in Haryana for its use of force to stop farmers despite the Centre’s nod. “Though the central government has allowed the farmers to enter the national capital to exercise their democratic right to protest, the Haryana government is engaged in a confrontationist approach against the farmers moving towards Delhi,” he said.
Commenting on the police action on the agitating farmers on reaching Haryana, the Punjab chief minister said, “What’s the need for such harsh measures? This barbarism needs to stop right now @mlkhattar ji.” “The farmers did not inflict even an iota of damage to any public property over the past three months of their protest, and here is a state government that is brazenly and shamelessly digging up roads made of public money,” he added.
Thousands of farmers from northern states including Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, are headed towards Delhi as part of their ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest march. On Thursday, the farmers from Punjab broke barricades and forced their way into Haryana, braving tear gas shells and water cannons en route to Delhi, where security was heightened to stop them from entering the Capital.
After high drama unfolded in Haryana over police action, the farmers from Punjab and Haryana then gathered at Panipat on Friday and jointly resumed their march to Delhi for an indefinite protest against the farm laws- 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- cleared by the Parliament during the monsoon session in September.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to step up its drive of reaching out to farmers across the country in a bid to dispel concerns about the farm legislation. Concerned about the impact that the tussle will have on the ground, senior ministers have also been urged to initiate dialogue with farmers’ unions to call off the stir.