The ever-growing farmers’ protest entered its 27th day on Tuesday with the stalemate between farmers and the Centre continuing with no solution arrived at so far. Let’s take a look at the top developments:
PM Modi to release next tranche of PM-Kisan
Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the next tranche of PM-Kisan, a direct cash-transfer scheme for growers. The PM will release Rs 18,000 crore cash benefit to 80 million farmers and also chat with some of them virtually on Christmas.
Farmer unions to meet today
Farmer unions have called a key meet on Tuesday to discuss the Centre’s latest offer to hold talks on the new farm laws. Farmers are also likely to finalise a reply to Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s letter sent to 40 unions on Sunday.
Delhi-Meerut expressway blocked
Vehicular movement at Delhi-Meerut Expressway has been completely stopped around 7.30am on Tuesday by the protesting farmers. The sudden blockade of the expressway has prompted the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police to divert traffic to alternate borders.
Punjab farmer attempts suicide
Amid the rising incidents of farmers committing suicide, Niranjan Singh, a 65-year-old farmer from Punjab, attempted suicide by consuming some poisonous substance near the Delhi’s Singhu border on Monday. He was admitted to the Rohtak’s PGIMS and his condition is stated to be stable.
Nashik farmers march towards Delhi
Members of farmer’s organisation in Nashik have started marching towards Delhi to support the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s farm laws. The farmers, who started off in private vehicles, were led by leaders of the Kisan Sabha. A Kisan Sabha leader said farmers from 21 districts in Maharashtra are on their way to Delhi.
Centre invites farmers for discussion
The Centre has invited the farmers’ unions yet again for a discussion and asked them to schedule the meeting at Vigyan Bhavan as per their convenience. In a letter to the union leaders, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said: “I request those previously invited protesting union leaders to provide details of their remaining concerns and doubts and suggest a date as per convenience for next round of talks.”
Farmers observe ‘Shahidi Divas’
In a bid to pay homage to the farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing agitation, growers on Sunday observed ‘Shaheedi Divas’. While posters and banners with photos of deceased farmers were put up at various locations along the Singhu borders, people were seen lighting candles and offering floral tributes to the departed souls.
Relay hunger strike
In an attempt to harden their stance, farmer unions announced a relay hunger strike at all the protest sites on Monday, while asking agitators from across the country to join them.
Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav had said: “We have decided to start a 24-hour relay hunger strike, starting Monday, at all the protest sites in Delhi as part of our ongoing agitation. At least 11 people will sit on strike at a time. We request farmers protesting in different parts of the country to also join us.”
Narendra Singh Tomar to meet farmers
Amid the ongoing protests, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is likely to meet farmers’ unions spearheading the protests in a day or two, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.
Shah said: “I am not exactly aware of the timing but Tomar is likely to meet the representatives of farmers tomorrow or the day after to discuss their demands.”
Social media pages of protesting farmers blocked
The Facebook and Instagram accounts, being operated by the protesting farmers, were blocked on Sunday following a live broadcast. However, the pages were restored around three hours later. Facebook said they regretted the inconvenience but has not specified why the page was taken down. A spokesperson said: “We’ve restored Kisan Ekta Morcha’s FB page and regret the inconvenience caused.”
Centre raises question over foreign donation
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) on Sunday said it has been asked by a central agency to submit its registration details which allow it to receive foreign funds.
President Joginder Ugrahan and its general secretary Sukhdev Singh revealed about the Union government’s demand alleging that the “Centre is using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the ongoing agitation”.
Ahead of ‘Kisan Diwas’
Farmer unions have urged protesting growers to skip a meal on December 23, which is celebrated as Kisan Diwas (farmers’ day) every year. BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said: “On this Kisan Diwas, farmers across the country will skip a meal. Those who provide food to the nation will stay hungry because of the government’s anti-farmer’s stance. I request everyone not to cook lunch that day and join the farmers.”