Stepping up pressure, agitating farmers will start a relay hunger strike at all protest sites from Monday to demand the repeal of the farm sector reforms.
Even as the protests continued, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to the Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib to mark the martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
On the 25th day of their protest, farmers also urged citizens to bang utensils to drown Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ address on December 27.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of the farmers, unions here on Sunday after they paid tributes to 40 protestors who have died during the agitation against the farm sector laws that had begun on November 26.
“The farmers will make all toll plazas free from December 25 to 27,” Jagjit Singh Dalewal, President of Bharatiya Kisan Union-Sidhupur, told reporters at the Singhu border.
He said farmers will also approach NDA partners with a plea to compel the government to take back the three farm sector laws.
“If they don't agree with us, we would boycott them too,” Dalewal said. The immediate target of the announcement appeared to be the Jananayak Janata Party (JJP) which is supporting the BJP-led government in Haryana.
The farmer leaders accused the government of launching a witch hunt against them, claiming that persons supporting them were being targeted.
“The government is trying to defame the farmers. The farmers are protesting on these cold nights... the government should think about us but they are busy defaming us,” Darshan Pal, President of the Krantikari Kisan Union said.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has held six rounds of talks with the agitating farmers and offered to amend the laws, but firmly rejected the demand for repeal.
Last week, Tomar wrote an open letter to the farmers, accusing Opposition parties of misleading them and highlighting the benefits of the laws.