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As farmers return to Delhi, here is what they are protesting about

Apart from unemployment, the withdrawal of the Electrical Reform Bill and implementation of the minimum support price (MSP) on commercial crops were among the major demands of the farmers

farmer protests | Jantar Mantar | Rakesh Tikait

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Around 19 farmers from 13 states had gathered in the capital during the Independence Day weekend for a unique interaction with subject experts and opinion leaders
Representative Image

Farmers from various states reached on Monday to conduct a 'mahapanchayat' over unmet demands and against unemployment. It was organised by Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM). Many farmers were detained, and the Delhi Police increased its security and border checks. This resulted in long pile-ups at the borders of the national capital.

Delhi Police said they had not permitted farmers to protest at . Section 144 was imposed in various parts of New Delhi as farmer organisations gathered to organise the 'Rozgar Sansad'.

On Sunday, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson was also detained at the Ghazipur border as he tried to enter the national capital to participate in the protest at .

"Thereafter, he was detained and taken to Madhu Vihar police station where police spoke to him and requested him to return," special commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Dependra Pathak said, as quoted by India TV.

Why are the farmers protesting now?

The protest was mainly against rising unemployment in the country. However, the agitations had lately intensified in Punjab on the unmet demands of the farmers after the centre withdrew the three farm bills.

Withdrawal of the Electrical Reform Bill, implementation of the (MSP) on commercial crops and simplifying the process of enhancing the power load were among the major demands of the farmers, as reported by The Tribune.

The farmers have been demanding legal backing for ever since the start of the farmers' agitation. But the government has resisted the pressure to make a legal right. In the monsoon session of the Parliament, the government said that it had not given any assurance to the farmers on the MSP, according to The Indian Express (IE).

The committee to discuss the follow-up formed by the agriculture ministry in July did not mention any legal guarantee for . It only aims to make MSP more 'effective and transparent.

On August 18, SKM also organised a 75-hour sit-in at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh over their pending demands.

One of the most prominent demands of the farmers apart from MSP is the arrest of Ashish Mishra, son of union minister Ajay Mishra Teni. On October 3, 2021, a convoy of 3 SUVs ran into a group of farmers returning from a protest in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri. Four farmers and a journalist died in the incident.

One of the cars was owned by Teni, and it was alleged that Ashish was present in the car when the incident happened. He was arrested on October 11, 2021 but was released on bail in February.

Farmers have also been demanding that Teni be dropped from the cabinet.

Tikait had, in April, joined the protest by leaders from Telangana in New Delhi over the paddy procurement policy of the government. He also said there is a need for another protest in the country and that SKM will fight 'every chief minister' in the country.

SKM is an umbrella group comprising around 40 farm organisations, primarily demanding the proper implementation of (MSP) for crops.

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First Published: Tue, August 23 2022. 13:04 IST