Farmers march to Delhi to demand farm reforms rollback

Farmers march to Delhi to demand rollback of farm reforms

Narendra Singh Tomar said the new farm sector laws were the need of the hour and it would bring about revolutionary changes to agriculture

Farmers use a tractor to remove concrete barriers set up to stop them from entering the national capital Delhi during a protest against the newly passed farm bills, at Singhu border. Credit: Reuters.

Two months after Parliament passed farm sector laws, thousands of farmers marched to the national capital riding tractor trolleys, families in tow and braving water cannons and teargas to demand their rollback.

The sheer number of farmers, who were stopped at the Delhi borders, prompted the Centre to allow them to march to the protest site at Nirankari Samagam Ground at Burari, about 20 km away from the Ramlila Maidan, where they had planned their agitation.

“We have come prepared with rations for six months,” said Kartar Singh, a farmer from Punjab who was part of a huge convoy of tractors that brought farmers to the national capital.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the new farm sector laws were the need of the hour and it would bring about revolutionary changes to agriculture in the near future.

“I have held one round of talks with farmers’ leaders and have invited them for another round of talks on December 3,” Tomar said.

However, a section of the farmers refused to budge from the Delhi-Haryana Singhu Border contending that any move to the Burari grounds could weaken the agitation.

Earlier, protesting farmers threw stones and broke barricades as they clashed with Delhi Police at the Singhu border after which police used tear gas shells to disperse them.

Angry farmers, who were denied entry into the national capital for their “Delhi Chalo” march against the Centre's new farm laws, managed to break the first layer of barricading, at the border.

Plumes of smoke were seen as security personnel used multiple rounds of tear gas to disperse the protesting farmers at the Singhu border.

A political war of words also broke out at Congress, AAP and Akali Dal leaders targeted the BJP, accusing it of being insensitive to the demands of the farmers.

The AAP government in Delhi turned down a request from Delhi Police to earmark nine stadia in the national capital as jails to detain farmers marching towards the capital.

AAP leaders have also announced that it would make all the arrangements for the stay of farmers protesting in the capital.

Rahul Gandhi attacked the Modi government and said that no government in the world can stop farmers from waging the “battle of truth”.

“The Modi government will have to agree to the demands of the farmers and take back the black laws. This is just the beginning,” Rahul said on Twitter with the hashtag ‘IamWithFarmers’.