Updated: December 6, 2020 6:58:28 pm
A day after protesting farmers at New Delhi’s borders called for a nationwide general strike, the demand earned support from various opposition parties, including AAP and Congress.
Delhi’s neighbouring state of Haryana, where the farmers’ stir has been gathering momentum, has called a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation ahead of the planned Bharat bandh. Farmers, on their part, said it was mutually agreed by the unions that more farmers from different states would be included in the protest.
The farmers said they consider their demands “non-negotiable”, and the next round of talks will be dominated by the agenda of total repeal of the three farm laws through a special session of Parliament.
Expecting disruption in road transport in and around Delhi, the Delhi Traffic Police has suggested alternative routes to enter and exit the national capital on December 8 (Tuesday).
Delhi Police instructions for traffic movement
The police has advised those commuting to Delhi to use the DND instead of the Noida Link road. Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic due to the farmers’ protest near Gautam Budh Dwar. “The Ghazipur border on NH 24 is closed for traffic from Ghaziabad to Delhi due to farmers’ protests. People are advised to avoid NH 24 for coming to Delhi and use Apsara/Bhopra/DND for coming to Delhi,” it tweeted.
Tikri and Jharoda borders are closed for traffic movement while Badusarai border is open only for light motor vehicles like cars and two-wheelers, it said.
“Singhu, Auchandi, Lampur, Piao Maniyari, Mangesh borders are closed. NH 44 is closed on both sides,” the police said. The police advised commuters to take alternative routes via Safiabad, Saboli, NH8, Bhopra, Apsara borders, and Peripheral expressway.
Several parties support Bharat Bandh
Several political parties, including the Congress, AAP, DMK, Kamal Haasan’s MNM, Left parties, the TMC, and the TRS, have joined ranks with the protesting farmers. NDA constituent Rashtriya Loktantrik Party has also supported the bandh call.
Rashtriya Loktantrik Party supports the call for ‘Bharat Bandh by farmers’. The PM should take back the farm laws. We will take a decision on whether RLP will stay in NDA or not after December 8: Hanuman Beniwal, RLP leader and MP from Rajasthan pic.twitter.com/K5dRAIHm1s
— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2020
Addressing a press conference Friday, farmers union leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said that if the Centre did not accept their demands to repeal the laws during Saturday’s talks, they would intensify their agitation and occupy toll plazas. There have been five rounds of talks between farmers’ representatives and the government till now, and the next meeting is scheduled for December 9. After Thursday’s talks, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had hinted that the Modi government could amend three major provisions in the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act.
Farm laws will not be rolled back, amendments can be made: MoS Agriculture
Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary on Sunday reiterated that the three laws passed by the government are “in favour of farmers”, and they would not be repealed, though amendments could be made to them.
“These laws passed by the government will give freedom to farmers. We have always said farmers should have the right to sell their crop wherever they want. Even Swaminathan Commission’s report recommends that. I don’t think the laws should be repealed. If necessary, some amendments to the Acts will be made to acknowledge agitating farmer’s demands,” Choudhary was quoted as saying by ANI.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines