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Disgruntled farmers refuse offer of alternate protest site, insist on reaching heart of capital

The numbers of demonstrators swelled at the Singhu border as the farmers camping there for the 'Delhi Chalo' protest march were joined by more counterparts from Punjab and Haryana, all of them refusing to move towards the Sant Nirankari ground, one of the largest in the national capital.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 28-11-2020 19:03 IST | Created: 28-11-2020 19:03 IST
Disgruntled farmers refuse offer of alternate protest site, insist on reaching heart of capital

The farmers will not relent till they reach Central Delhi -- the seat of power from where the government sought votes from them -- and protest peacefully at Jantar Mantar near the Parliament house so that their grievances are heard by lawmakers, echoed the protesters at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana. The large number of farmers, aggrieved over the three agriculture bills enacted by the government recently, reiterated that they would not accept the Delhi Police's offer to hold their protest at the Sant Nirankari ground at Burari in north Delhi. The numbers of demonstrators swelled at the Singhu border as the farmers camping there for the 'Delhi Chalo' protest march were joined by more counterparts from Punjab and Haryana, all of them refusing to move towards the Sant Nirankari ground, one of the largest in the national capital. "We have come all the way to protest against the Centre's new farm laws. What will we do at the Nirankari ground in Burari, satsang? The government took votes from the farmers by sitting in central Delhi. We want to go to Janpath and gherao Parliament house. We will not go back from here," said Manish Kadian, 38, a resident of a village in Haryana's Jhajjar district. He said the farmers have rejected the Delhi Police's offer to hold protest at the ground in Burari.

Gurmej Singh, 62, from Punjab, said the farmers will not give up unless they are able to reach Jantar Mantar or Ramlila Ground in the heart of the national capital and hold their "peaceful" protest there. "We will not go to Nirankari ground. We will either go to Jantar Mantar or Ramlila ground or we will sit here. We have enough ration for six months and will not leave the highway," he said. Singh, flanked by other protesting farmers, alleged that the Central government was anti-farmer and that its new agriculture laws will take away their livelihoods. "I am a farmer and all my life I have only done farming. We are ready to even sacrifice our lives, but will not move back from here. This goverment is not for the farmers. They are not concerned about the farmers' issues," Singh said. Many of these farmers continued to hold their protest peacefully at the Singhu border where they have been holding meetings to decide on their next course of action and have also made arrangements for a long stay at the Delhi-Haryana border. Many farmers cleaned the roads, cooked their lunch and collected garbage, keeping in mind the importance of hygiene especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Tezveer, 49, a resident of Jhajjar and pradhan of Beri Anaj Mandi, said the residents there are welcoming the farmers of Punjab and extending their full support to them. "The government should either take this law back or give MSP to the farmers. We are fully supporting the farmers and extending all possible amenities. We come daily from Jhajjar to Singhu border and bring raw ration and other necessary things including milk for the protesters," he said.

Most farmers gathered at the Tikri border between Delhi and Haryana too have refused the Delhi Police's offer to go to the north Delhi protest site. Sukhwinder Singh, who has been camping at the Tikri border since Friday evening, said, "We will continue to protest here. We will not move from here. Several other farmers are yet to join us from Haryana. They are on their way. We won't move from here and will continue our fight from here." Asked why they don't want to enter the national capital despite being permitted by the Delhi Police, Singh said, "We don't want to go to any ground provided by them in Burari. We want to go to Jantar Mantar and hold a peaceful demonstration there. Meetings are being held, and until the next course of action is decided, we will continue to protest here at the border peacefully," he added. The farmers at the Tikri border also seem to have come prepared for a long haul. They have come fully prepared with rations and utensils to cook food, and have been charging their phones in their vehicles.

Jagtar Singh Bhagiwander, another farmer camping at Tikri, also maintained that they won't move ahead and would continue to fight for their rights from the national highway. "We won't proceed towards Burari. Yesterday, soon after we were granted permission to enter Delhi, we were told to move ahead in groups of 50 people one after the other. We refused to move in groups.

"This is an attempt to separate us. If we have come together all the way crossing different borders, we will continue to stay united. As of now, we have decided to stay here at Tikri. We will continue our fight from here until further course of action is decided," he said. Farmers protesting against the Centre's three farm laws have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates.

The Centre has invited several Punjab farmer organisations for another round of talks in Delhi on December 3..

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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