Want to wake government up, says farm union leader as day-long fast against farm laws begins
As farm union leaders observe a day-long fast against the Centre’s three contentious agricultural laws on Monday, a leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Punjab, said the leaders want to “wake the government up.” He further said a total of 40 farmer leaders of the “United Farmers Front” are observing the hunger strike.
“We want to wake the government up. So, 40 farmer leaders of our United Farmers Front will sit on hunger strike today at all borders between 8am-5pm. 25 of them will sit at the Singhu border, 10 at Tikri border and five at UP border,” Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary, BKU (Punjab) told news agency ANI.
Monday marks day 19 of the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws and will also witness Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and workers of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) observe a hunger strike in solidarity with the protesting farmers. Last Tuesday, the farmers had observed a peaceful Bharat Bandh against the legislations. On Friday, toll plazas across the country were made free by the farmers while on Sunday, farmers moving towards the national capital from Rajasthan sat down on the Delhi-Jaipur highway after being blocked by the police.
Farmers have been protesting against what they call the three “black laws” since September, the month these were passed. Initially, they blocked railway tracks in Punjab and have been protesting on the borders of Delhi since November 26. The protesters say they want nothing short of a repeal and have repeatedly warned of “being prepared for the long haul.”
Total five rounds of talks have taken place between the government and farm union leaders, including one each on December 1, 3 and 5. The sixth round of talks, scheduled for December 9, were called off after an “informal” meeting between Union home minister Amit Shah and farm union leaders, which took place the night before, remained inconclusive.