Delhi-Jaipur Highway Partially Opened Amid Farm Law Protests: 10 Facts

Farmers' Protest: The farmers pledged to intensify protests despite the Prime Minister's message on Saturday as he said: "We've taking all these initiatives to increase the farmers' income.

The farmers are protesting against three controversial laws passed by the centre early this year

Highlights

  • Farmer leaders said they will go on a one-day hunger strike on Monday
  • Arvind Kejriwal said he will fast on Monday in solidarity with farmers
  • Farmers said sit-in protests will be held at all district headquarters
New Delhi: The Delhi-Jaipur highway has been partially opened after a three-hour closure that started as farmers began a tractor march from Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border as part of their escalating 18-day protest against the Centre's contentious farm laws. A highway was opened as farmers removed blockade from the Delhi-Noida border at Chilla. Thousands of farmers on way to Delhi, meanwhile, reached the Rewari border of Haryana, where the police blocked both sides of the Delhi-Jaipur highway to stop them from entering the state. A nationwide protest has been planned for tomorrow against the laws which farmers say will shrink their income and give private firms the upper hand in purchase of produce.

Here are 10 developments in this big story:

  1. The farmers' march from Rajasthan had started in the morning from Shahjahanpur, which is around 120 km from Delhi.  The group of 800-900 are being led by Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav. Social activist Medha Patkar is also accompanying the group. Visuals showed farmers carrying placards and shouting slogans as they walked slowly down the highway. Tractors pulling tarpaulin-covered trailers, and flanked by cars with banners waved out of the windows, were also seen.

  2. Asked about the failed negotiations between the government and the farmers, Mr Yadav said: "It is a strange negotiation. They are forcing a 'gift', which is unwanted in the first place. PM says it is a 'historic gift'. Farmers refuse it. Then PM says, 'We will change the wrapping of the gift'. But farmers are still saying they don't want it. The PM needs to think about the welfare of the farmers, repeal the laws."

  3. The marching farmers have stopped at Rewari on the Haryana border, where the police have put up blockades.  Unlike Punjab farmers, they are not carrying any provisions. But that has not been an impediment so far, as the locals have started a supply line of food and drinks, ferrying them in trucks to the protesters.  

  4. Another group of protesting farmers is trying to march towards Haryana border from Rajasthan's Neemrana.  A section of farmers from the Congress ruled-state have decided they would give some more time to the Centre before escalating their protest.

  5. The Rashtriya Loktantric Party – which has a large support base among Jat farmers in Nagaur district – said its chief Hanuman Beniwal has gone to the border to join the protest but "decided to give more time to the Centre after a missive from the BJP's central leadership".

  6. The farmers protesting at Singhu border said farmers across the country will hold a day's hunger strike on Monday. Sit-in protests will also be held at all district headquarters. The plan to escalate the protest was announced on Thursday after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Centre's written offer of amending the laws, which the farmers refused.

  7. Asserting that the peaceful movement will continue, farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa, who is camping at the Delhi-Haryana border at Singhu, told NDTV: "The government should not test the patience of farmers. First they called farmers Pakistanis and then said that China is running this movement and now they are saying that the Naxalites are calling the shots."

  8. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said he will hold a fast tomorrow in solidarity with the protesting farmers and appealed to others to do the same. "The BJP leaders and some Union ministers are repeatedly saying the farmers are anti-nationals. I want to ask them -- thousands of retired soldiers are sitting at the borders with the farmers. Are they anti-nationals? The sportspersons who represented India abroad and returned their medals... are they anti-nationals?" he said in a video address

  9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has staunchly defended the farm laws, said on Saturday that his government's initiatives would "increase farmers' income and make them more prosperous". "These reforms will give farmers new markets, advantages of technology, and help bring investments. It is my country's farmers who will benefit the most from all this," the Prime Minister said.

  10. The farmers say they are willing to continue talks with the Centre, so long as the talks begin with repeal of the controversial laws. They have also accused the Centre of trying to sow discord within their ranks by re-casting the protest as engineered by the opposition, involving separatist elements from Punjab and as part of a "conspiracy by China and Pakistan" - and weaken its united front.