Farmers plan Delhi siege to protest farm sector reforms

Farmers plan Delhi siege to protest farm sector reforms

Farmers shout slogans as they block a railway track during a protest at the Jandiala railway station before dawn on the outskirts of Amritsar. Credit: AFP.

Riding tractors and raising slogans, farmers from across the country are set to lay an “indefinite siege of Delhi” beginning Thursday to protest against the Modi government’s farm sector reforms and plans to amend the Electricity Act.

Farmers have boarded tractors and driving cars from Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan with plans to reach the national capital on Thursday or sit on a protest wherever they are stopped, Darshan Pal Singh, President of the Krantikari Kisan Union, told reporters through a video link.

Even as farmers were spelling out protest plans, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar invited leaders of 32 farmers’ organisations from Punjab for further talks on the farm sector reforms after they agreed to temporarily suspend their two-month old agitation and allow running of railway services in the state.

Singh claimed Haryana government had already launched a crackdown against farmers’ leaders and closed down border points with Punjab to prevent farmers from reaching Delhi.

“We have decided to approach Delhi through all the nine border check posts and plan to stage protests right where we are stopped,” he said.

“Farmers’ indefinite struggle with Dilli Chalo on November 26th onwards has been launched in full strength and we will intensify the struggle from here on,” the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee said.

Sunilam of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti claimed that the Delhi Police had withdrawn the permission for holding a rally at the Ramlila grounds and instead asked farmers to stage a token protest at Jantar Mantar with a maximum 100 participants given the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the capital.

Kavita Kuruganti of ASHA-Kisan Swaraj said farmers had also planned localised protests across the country with newly elected MLAs of Left parties in Bihar sitting on demonstration at the state assembly premises.

Farmers have also given a call for Grameen Hartal in states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.