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Farmer protests enter 19th day, farm leaders on 1-day hunger strike
New Delhi, December 14, 2020
The farmers' protest continued on the 19th day on Monday against the three new agricultural laws even as leaders from various farmer unions began a hunger strike for one day.
Darshan Pal Singh, state President of the Krantikari Kisan Union in Punjab, told IANS that the leaders of all farmer organisations involved in the Samyukta Kisan Morcha would sit on a single-day hunger strike from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.
Apart from this, he said a protest would be organised at the district headquarters.
Singh said the people from the farmer organisations would launch a protest march against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies across the country.
He said the Delhi-Jaipur expressway was completely blocked on Sunday on the call of farmer leaders. But after sometime, it was cleared in the evening on the same day. However, the highway would encounter a similar blockade on Monday as well, he said.
Farmers are still camping at Delhi's Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders while braving the shivering cold with several demands, including the repealing of the new farm laws, and a call has been given to intensify the agitation.
On the other hand, there is a continuous effort from the Centre to persuade the farmers to call off the agitation, but there is still a deadlock on the issue of the demand for repealing the three farm laws by the farmer groups.
Leaders of farmer organisations want repealing of the three new farm laws implemented by the Central government - the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Price Assurance and Agricultural Services Agreement Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
They are adamant on the demand for withdrawal of the laws while the government is trying to convince the farmers regarding amendments in these laws. However, the deadlock between the two sides - the Centre and the farmer unions - remains only on the demand to withdraw these three laws due to which further negotiations are not being held.
However, the list of demands of the farmers is quite long. The leaders of farmer organisations are demanding a new law to guarantee the purchase of all notified crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) while the government has given written assurance to continue the current system of procurement of crops at the MSP.
In addition to the specific demand regarding the written assurance on not doing away with the MSP, other demands by the farmers include abolition of the provisions for stricter penalties and fine in the ordinance related to stubble burning and withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.