Begin hunger strike from wherever you are, farmers’ leaders told

Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar

New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) After ‘Bharat Bandh’ called earlier this month, the protesting farmers on Sunday declared a wider day-long movement, urging its leaders to undertake a hunger strike from wherever they are protesting.

The announcement comes after a meeting of farmers here at Singhu border gave their nod to the decision taken by farmer representatives of 32 different unions on Saturday for holding the hunger strike on December 14 (Monday) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Earlier, it was decided that the farmer leaders will hold the hunger strike only on Singhu border at Delhi-Chandigarh route — one of the major protest site where thousands of farmers have been camping under open skies from November 26 seeking rollback of three farm laws enacted by the government in September during Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Addressing a press briefing here at Singhu, Bhartiya Kisan Union’s (BKU) Haryana President Gurnam Singh Chathuni said “all the leaders would be carrying out hunger strikes wherever they are leading the protest”.

Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said: “The hunger strike would be carried out tomorrow till 5 p.m. but the farmers will have to take care that no disturbing element comes in our movement”.

Tikait, who represents the farmers from western Uttar Pradesh, advised that all the younger ones shall learn how agitations are carried out.

Opening a way to begin government-farmers talk, the farm leader, meanwhile, said “if the government sends us any proposal, we would carry out discussion and take a decision on the same”.

Sarva Hind Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh’s Shivkumar Kakka, however, clarified that that farmers are still adamant on the issue that they will not end the ongoing protest till the government repeal the three laws.

He also accused the government of obstructing the way farmers’ coming to Delhi, saying “our trolleys are being stopped at Morena and other cities of Madhya Pradesh”.

Stressing that the whole agitation is still being run under ‘Sanyukt Kisan Morcha’ banner, the leader said all the associations are working here and no one has left. “All the decisions taken here are not by majority but maturity and unanimity.”

Giving detail about one farmer leader Bhanu Pratap, who has approached Supreme Court and is about to end the protest, the farmer leaders here at Singhu said he was not “our part and he has no relation with this movement”.

Doab Kisan Samiti leader Jagbir Singh also accused the government of stopping farmers’ trolleys coming from Uttarakhand. He said that crowd was swelling up each day at Ghazipur border on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border– the third major front of farmers’ protest where farmers have blocked National Highway 24.

“The more they (the government) will try to suppress, the more we will accumulate,” said Jagbir Singh, adding “the government says farmers are our brothers but they are doing nothing for us”.

Punjab Kisan Union leader Ruldu Singh said it is a movement of the people of India because their business would get destroyed completely because of these laws. “We want to save the middlemen…”

The farmers continued their 18th day protest on Sunday seeking government to fulfill their first and major demand to roll back the three laws — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The agitation is on as five rounds of talks between the government and the farmers so far remained inconclusive. Farmers are demanding the repeal of three farm laws calling “black laws” and “anti-farmer” but the government is not ready for a rollback. As per the government, it is ready to carry out amendments to the laws but these cannot be repealed, as “they are for the benefit of farmers”.

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