Farmers protest: Ministers, farm unions hold talks ahead of rally

Delhi Police stepped up security in the national capital, enforcing Section 144, which bans gatherings and processions for a month across Delhi

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Archis MohanPress Trust of India New Delhi

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Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda, and others held the second round of negotiations with farmer unions in Chandigarh on Monday evening to dissuade them from their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, demanding that the Centre enact a law on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

Delhi Police stepped up security in the national capital, enforcing Section 144, which bans gatherings and processions for a month across Delhi. Several schools in Delhi and satellite towns announced they would remain shut on Tuesday. Security was also increased in districts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh adjoining the national capital.

Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, and others held the second round of discussions on the demands of farmer unions with the leadership of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration in Sector 26 in Chandigarh.

Jagjit Singh Dallewal of Samyukta Kisan Morcha and Sarvan Singh Pandher of Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, among others, represented the farm unions.

The government and farm unions held the first round of talks on February 8.

More than 200 unions, under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political), have announced they will march to Delhi on Tuesday to demand that the Centre enact a law to guarantee MSP for crops.

Farm unions have also demanded the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases, and justice for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

The ‘Delhi Chalo’ call is reminiscent of the protests by farmer unions in 2020-21, which lasted over a year, against the Centre’s three farm laws, withdrawn by the government in November 2021.

Security arrangements to prevent farmers from entering the national capital included placing multiple layers of barricades, concrete blocks, containers, and even iron nails drilled into roads on Delhi’s three borders — Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur.

In 2020-21, thousands of farmers sat at the three borders of Delhi for over a year, demanding the rollback of the farm laws. With traffic restrictions enforced on Monday, road travel between Delhi and its satellite towns became onerous for commuters.

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First Published: Feb 12 2024 | 10:24 PM IST

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