'Action against farmers akin to waging war on them'

Action against farmers akin to waging war against them, say Opposition leaders

Leaders including Pawar, Yechury demand bigger ground like Ramlila Maidan to be allotted to farmers for their protest

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) members attempt to cross a police barricade at Ghazipur border during their 'Delhi Chalo' march against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. Credit: PTI Photo

Eight senior Opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, on Saturday, targeted the Narendra Modi government for the police action on farmers in the national capital, saying it was "akin to waging a war" on the protesters and demanded that they be allotted a bigger ground like Ramlila Maidan for their peaceful protest.

In a joint statement, the leaders reiterated their opposition to the three controversial farm laws, which they said threaten India's food security, abolish Minimum Support Price, destroy agriculture and farmers.

Read: March against Farm Laws: Political parties 'sponsoring' farmers' stir, claims Haryana CM Khattar

Besides NCP chief Pawar, CPI(M) General Secretary Yechury and his CPI counterpart Raja, the statement was signed by DMK Treasurer T R Baalu, CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Forward Bloc's Debabrata Biswas, RSP's Manoj Bhattacharya and RJD's Manoj K Jha. Though in support of the farmers, no Congress leader has signed the joint statement.

They said the Narendra Modi government must adhere to the democratic process and norms and address the concerns of the protesting farmers.

Also read: Slogans, songs and drumbeats as hundreds of farmers gather at Burari ground

A large number of farmers have gathered in the national capital as part of a protest against the farm laws, braving baton-charge and water canons while entering Delhi.

"Braving severe repression, tear-gassing, heavy water cannoning, roadblocks, police barricades and digging up the national highways surrounding Delhi akin to waging a war on our farmers, tens of thousands of farmers have successfully reached the national capital of Delhi," they said.

"We salute their determination and courage in this massive protest demanding the withdrawal of the retrograde anti-farmer agriculture laws," they said.

Read: 'Delhi Chalo': Protesting farmers charged with attempt to murder, rioting in Haryana

The leaders were of the view that the Centre was "forced" to relent and reverse its earlier decision of preventing the farmers from reaching Delhi to peacefully voice their protest.

On Friday, the government had allowed farmers to gather at Nirankari Grounds in north Delhi's Burari.

"This ground, however, is too small for the tens of thousands that have reached Delhi. We...demand that a larger ground like Ramlila Maidan or similar must be allotted for this peaceful protest and all necessary arrangements must be made for their stay and food," they added.