Farmers stir: Protesters beat ‘thali’ during PM’s address, feed birds in Noida

Noida: The farmers protesting in Noida against the new farm laws beat “thali” (metal plates) during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio broadcast “Mann Ki Baat” on Sunday, while scores of them also fed birds as they took out a foot march in the city.

Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU) Bhanu and Lok Shakti factions, with supporters hailing from various western Uttar Pradesh districts, are protesting at separate sites here since the first week of December, demanding that the three farm laws be repealed and a guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) on crops.

At the Chilla border, scores of BKU (Bhanu) members beat utensils and raised slogans hailing the farmers during the prime minister’s “Mann ki Baat” to express their dissatisfaction with the government over the impasse on the new laws.

Yogesh Pratap Singh, the Uttar Pradesh unit chief of the BKU (Bhanu), reiterated that his union “will not leave the ground” until the demands of the farmers are met by the Centre.

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Separately, around 200 members of the BKU (Lok Shakti) took out a foot march from the Dalit Prerna Sthal in Sector 95 to Sector 27 and fed birds en route.

“The farmers were carrying mixed seeds in their bags to feed the birds. This was our way of telling the government that we are firm in our resolve but also peaceful and Gandhian in our approach,” BKU (Lok Shakti) spokesperson Shailesh Kumar Giri said.

According to a Noida Police official, the Noida-Delhi Link Road via Chilla remained partially closed due to the stir, allowing only the commuters from Delhi to come to Noida but not the other way round.

There was no other law-and-order situation due to the stir, the official said.

Thousands of farmers are staying put at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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The Bhanu and Lok Shakti factions of the BKU are not part of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmers unions that is leading the charge at Delhi’s border points in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, but have extended their support to the cause.

“We also have similar demands and our protest is in support of the other protesters,” Giri said.

The protesting farmers have expressed the apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the MSP system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture.

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