The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to consider putting on hold the implementation of the contentious farm laws as a step towards resumption of dialogues with the agri unions. The top court, however, also observed the farmers’ constitutional right to protest could not impede citizen’ right to free movement.
Narendra Singh Tomar pens 8-page letter
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar has written an open eight page letter to farmers saying the minimum support price (MSP) is going to continue. In the letter written in Hindi, Tomar sought to alleviate farmers’ concerns, saying the system of agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) will not be stopped. He also said that farmers’ lands are not in danger and agreements that farmers sign will be for crops, not for their land.
The minister wrote: “I am from a farming family. I have grown up seeing, understanding the challenges of farming. I have seen the distress of untimely rain, the happiness of timely monsoon. These were parts of my growing up. I have also seen the week-long wait to sell crops.”
PM’s appeal to farmers
In an attempt to enhance the reach of Tomar’s letter, PM Modi tweeted: “Narendra Tomar Ji has expressed his feelings by writing a letter to farmer brothers and sisters, trying to have a polite dialogue. I request all the contributors to read it. The countrymen are also urged to make it reach to as many people as possible.”
Kejriwal tears up copies of farm law
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tore up copies of the farm bills during a special Assembly session on Thursday and urged the Centre “not to become worse than Britishers”. He said: “I hereby tear three farm laws in this Assembly and appeal to the Centre not to become worse than Britishers. What was the hurry to get farm laws passed in Parliament during the coronavirus pandemic?”
Opposition slams Kejriwal
Former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has hit out at Kejriwal for insulting the farmers’ struggle with “cheap theatrics by tearing copies of the farm laws” when he was among the first to notify them in the country.
In a statement, Harsimrat said the Delhi chief minister was known as a “dramebaaz” but this time he had indulged in unparalleled hypocrisy by tearing the same laws in the Vidhan Sabha which he had notified on November 23.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi also slammed Kejriwal for the action, calling him a “new chameleon”. She said: “The Centre’s three farm laws were notified in Delhi Gazette on November 23. Now, they are tearing copies of the same act in Delhi Assembly after notifying. This is opportunistic politics. He (Arvind Kejriwal) is a new chameleon, he can just change colours without qualms.”
PM to address MP farmers
According to a statement by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday virtually address farmers in Madhya Pradesh. The programme will begin at 2pm via video conferencing.
60-year-old farmer cycles 1,000km to join protest
Sixty-year-old Satyadev Manjhi from Bihar’s Siwan reached Tikri at Delhi-Haryana border on Thursday after completing a journey of nearly 1,000km in 11 days on a bicycle to participate in the on-going farmers’ protest against agricultural laws.
Manjhi told ANI: “It took me 11 days to reach here from Siwan, my home district. I urge the government to take back the three farm laws. I will be here until the movement is not over.”
Library cultural centre
A group of young, working professionals, students and farmers from Punjab and Haryana have set up a cultural space-cum-library at Singhu border to serve as a platform for artistes and also to engage with the street children around the area amid the farmers’ protest.
Kerala traders extend solidarity
The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti has expressed solidarity with the farmers’ protest that has lasted for several weeks now. The Palayam area committee of the samiti on Thursday took out a march to mark its protest against the three farm laws, which were passed in the Parliament in September.
Adityanath accuses opposition of ‘misleading’ farmers
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath has offered his understanding of the farmers’ protests by claiming the Opposition was supporting the agitation to fuel unrest in the country because it could not bear that Prime Minister Modi’s plan to construct a Ram temple in Ayodhya was becoming a reality.
‘Missing’ debt-ridden businessman traced in protests
A debt-ridden businessman, who changed his appearance and joined the ongoing farmers’ protests at one of the Delhi border points to escape moneylenders, was traced by police on Thursday. Praveen, a resident of Murad Nagar town who had left his house on December 1, was found at the Ghazipur-Ghaziabad border.