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Farmers consider expanding protests to 'pan-India' scale
New Delhi, December 12, 2020
Getting no positive signal from the Central government about rolling back the three contentious farm laws enacted in September, farmers protesting on the national capital's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on Saturday announced their plan to expand the demonstrations to a "pan-India" scale, appealing all sections of society, including girls and women, to join them.
Declaring that they'll hold a day long "hunger strike" on December 14, representatives of 32 farmers' unions jointly announced their plans for a pan-India protest if the government does not accept their demands and withdraws the three laws -- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Addressing a press conference at Singhu on Delhi's border with Haryana, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti President Kawalpreet Singh Pannu said: "We have decided to expand this movement pan India."
The farm leader said that farmers will move from Rajasthan's Shajapur to Delhi borders blocking the Delhi-Jaipur route on Sunday and all District Collector offices would become the centre of the protest on December 14.
Announcing that all the leaders of 32 unions would sit on a day-long hunger strike at the Singhu border protest site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 14, Pannu sought support from other sections of society.
"We request our sisters and mothers to become part of the protest. We are arranging for the seating, sleeping and hygiene facilities for women protesters. We appeal to the girls and women across India to join the protest."
He, however, made it clear "we want to keep this movement as peaceful as it can be".
The farm leader said "we have already rejected the proposal of the government, telling it about the lapses in the law".
"The government had been saying since the beginning that these laws are for the benefit of farmers but we had told them that it is for the corporate houses," Pannu said.
It was the 17th day of farmers' protest on Delhi's different borders. Thousands of farmers, who began their sit-in from Singhu border on Delhi-Chandigarh border on November 26, are braving the chilly winter under open skies. The protest has hampered the supply chain to the national capital.
Despite five rounds of talks between the government and the farmers, there is no solution in sight as both side are adamant on their points. Farmers are demanding the repeal of three farm laws calling "black laws" and "anti-farmer" but the government is not ready for a rollback. As per government, it is ready for amendments to the laws but these cannot be repealed, reiterating that they are for the benefit of farmers.