Delhi Chalo protests: The farmers say 500 organisations are part of the protests.
- Farmers say they have enough supplies to continue protests for 6 months
- At least three highways that lead to Delhi have been blocked by farmers
- Arvind Kejriwal is personally monitoring arrangements in Burari: AAP
A large number of farmers are still camping around the Delhi border despite a ground being allocated to them in the capital's outskirts to hold their protest against the farm laws that they want repealed. The protesters - who have braved tear gas, water cannons and lathi-charge during their agitation - have said they have enough essentials to continue their protests for up to six months. At least three highways that lead to Delhi remain blocked amid the protests.
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Groups of farmers, walking with tractors carrying food and essential supplies, had been trying to enter Delhi from multiple points, defying barricades, many wrapped in barbed wire, and trenches dug up near key roads.
While the Tikri border (that leads from Delhi to Bahadurgarh) was opened for the farmers to enter the national capital, situation remains tense in Singhu border near outer Delhi's Narela. At least three highways that lead to Delhi remain blocked amid the protests. Apart from Delhi-Bahadurgarh highway and Delhi-Sonepat, situation is also tense at Delhi-Haridwar with farmers from Uttar Pradesh marching towards the national capital.
"We've got food rations for six months. We'll go back after getting rid of the black agriculture laws which are against farmers," a protester at Singhu border was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
A part of the protesters, however, are camping at a ground in Burari near the capital's outskirts amid heavy police presence. They say that their protests will continue till the farm laws are withdrawn. "Our protest will continue till the farm laws are not withdrawn. We are here for the long haul," a farmer was quoted as saying at Nirankari Samagam Ground in Burari, the site approved for protests.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has backed the farmer protests, is personally monitoring arrangements being made in Burari, his party informed in a tweet. Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain and Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman Raghav Chadha have been instructed to supervise arrangements on site, it added. Local AAP MLAs instructed to provide tenting and food facilities to farmers, it said.
Some of the protesters, however, complained about lack of facilities at the protest venue. "There are no arrangements at protest venue in Burari. No arrangements for even toilets. We tried to go to a gurudwara but police did not allow us," one farmer told NDTV.
Yesterday, Delhi Police's request to turn nine stadiums in the city into makeshift "jails" to detain protesting farmers was rejected by the city's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, meanwhile, has requested farmers to end their protest. The central government is ready to discuss issues related to three agriculture sector laws with the representatives of farmers organisations, he said. "The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers. We have invited farmers' organisations for another round of talks on 3rd December. I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of COVID-19 and winter," Mr Tomar told news agency ANI.
The farmers are protesting three new laws aimed at bringing reforms by doing away with middlemen and improving farmers' earnings by allowing them to sell produce anywhere in the country. Farmers and opposition parties allege that the laws will deprive the farmers of guaranteed minimum price for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporates.
Farmers from six states, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab, are heading to Delhi and intend to converge at Ram Lila Maidan in the heart of the city for a protest planned for months. The farmers say 500 organisations are part of it. The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, comprising seven farmers' organisations, says they have written to the PM asking for negotiations and a site where farmers can assemble.