Protesting farmers intensify stand-off; to block Delhi-Jaipur highway

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union on late Friday moved Supreme Court seeking the quashing of the three legislations that they say will drive down crop prices.

New Delhi: Seventeen days in, the ongoing protests are all set to intensify as the farmers look to block the Delhi-Jaipur border on Saturday. Two thousand policemen are on duty in Gurgaon and 3,500 policemen are deployed at Faridabad to stop the protesters, officials have said. The two cities in Haryana share borders with Delhi.

So far, farmers closed two toll plazas on the highway—Shambhu in Ambala and Bastara in Karnal—and there is a free-toll, until 12 am tonight. The number of farmers is bound to increase as more and more farmers are leaving to join the Delhi teams. Several farmers have begun their journey from Kurukshetra, ANI reported.

As a part of the escalation, yet another nation-wide protest is planned on December 14, with all the highways connecting to Delhi being blocked.

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Besides, one of the 32 farmer unions—Bharatiya Kisan Union—on late Friday moved Supreme Court seeking the quashing of the three legislations that they say will drive down crop prices. The union argued that the laws were arbitrary because the government enacted them without proper consultations with stakeholders, and claimed that it will result in the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) system being dismantled and “may even result in famines”.

After the five rounds of talks with the government reaching an impasse, the farmer unions have rejected its draft proposal to amend the farm laws.

With the protesting farmers being adamant on the repeal of the ‘black laws’, several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members—including Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad—began pushing the narrative that the agitation has been hijacked by ‘anti-national’ elements.

Prasad said the ongoing farmers’ protest has been “overtaken” by the “tukde-tukde gang”, adding that “it is possible that the negotiations failed because of them.”

BJP to hold ‘awareness campaigns’ in support of farm laws

The BJP, on the other hand, is gearing up to counter the opposition of the farm laws. A massive awareness campaign and will be organised by the party, including press conferences and ‘kisan chaupals’ (meetings) at over 700 places across the country, sources said. The awareness campaigns will begin with immediate effect.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday also came in defence of the farm laws. Speaking at the virtual 93rd Annual Convention of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Modi said that the new farm laws legislated by the central government a few months ago will help bring down barriers between agricultural and associated sectors, creating new markets for farmers who will gain from technological advances and investments.

“These reforms will give farmers new markets, advantages of technology, and help bring investments. It is my country’s farmers who will benefit the most from all this,” he said.

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