New Delhi: Thousand of farmers, close to 80,000 as claimed by activists, are camping near Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, refusing to stop their protest unless all their demands are met.
A number of farmers, who are led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) of Mahendra SinghTikait, are reported to have been injured after they clashed with the police who stopped them from entering the national capital.
Television footage and photos widely shared on social media sites showed police and para-military forces using water canons and tear gas shells to stop farmers. Police also deflated tyers of their tractors.
"We will not accept the government assurance and will go ahead with the protests", Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) President Naresh Tikait, who is spearheading the protests, said.
Naresh Tikait's statement came after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held discussions with Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and others on how to resolve the farmers’ issues and pacify them.
“We had a discussion on 11 points. Government agreed on 07 points but didn’t agree on 04. They said they will have to think over these demands in further meetings as they are financial matters", BKU Spokesman Yudhvir Singh said.
“Government didn’t clear its stand on the main issue of the farmers - C2+50 (a minimum support price of cost, calculated on C2 basis which included cost of capital and rent of cultivated land as recommended by the MS Swaminathan Commission). That is why the farmers are unsatisfied. It didn’t clear its stand even on the other main issue of loan waiver. They said they will discuss it in detail,” he added.
Spearheaded as Kisan Kranti Padyatra, the farmers' rally began from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23 and was to culminate today at Kisan Ghat, the memorial of renowned farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh, near Raj Ghat.
The rally is an echo of the massive protest of almost 5 lakh farmers by BKU founder late Mahendra Singh Tikait at Delhi's Boat Club in October 1988. The Tikait clan, including Mahendra Singh's four sons, their wives, grandsons and their children have also hit the streets along with others.
Meanwhile, opposition parties blamed on the Modi government for what they described as "brutal police action" against the farmers marching towards New Delhi. Slamming the government for using force against the farmers, the Congress said that the "Badshah of Delhi Sultanate was drunk with power".
Condemning the police action, Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said if the Centre can write off huge debt of a few industrialists why it could not waive the loans of farmers. He also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that "arrogance has gone to his head".
"Instead of hearing them out, farmers are brutalised and beaten up. The Baadshah in the Delhi Sultanate is drunk with power," Surjewala alleged.
The BJP on the other hand said its government has solved all issues of the farmers and has done a lot of things for them in the last 4.5 years..
"For the first time since independence, farmers came into the agenda of a government which is evident from the work done by BJP govt in the past 4.5 years for farmers. BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi solved all the issues of the farmers", Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said.
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