Farmer leaders on Monday started their day-long hunger strike against the Centre’s new farm laws and said protests would be held at all district headquarters later in the day, even as more people are expected to join the ongoing agitation at Delhi border points.
Farmer leader Baldev Singh said, “Representatives of farmer unions have started their hunger strike at Singhu border.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people to fast wherever they are in support of protesting farmers, and asserted that farmers would win in the end.
Kejriwal is observing a day-long fast in support of the farmers’ protest.
The Chief Minister also urged his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers and supporters as well as the people of the country to join the farmers’ agitation.
“Fasting is sacred. Wherever you are, fast for our farmer brothers. Pray to God for the success of their struggle. In the end, farmers will definitely win,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he is observing the fast at the party office with other party members.
“The ‘anndaata’ farmer of the country is on hunger strike demanding the withdrawal of the three laws of the central government for the sake of saving his daily bread. In support of the demand of farmers, today I am also on a fast with all my colleagues in the Aam Aadmi Party office,” Sisodia tweeted.
Apart from Sisodia, AAP ministers and MLAs, including Gopal Rai, Satyendar Jain, Atishi and Raghav Chadha, also observed fast at the party office here in support of farmers.
A large group of farmers on Sunday blocked the key Delhi-Jaipur national highway when it was stopped by police on the Haryana-Rajasthan border.
As part of the nationwide protest, dharnas will be staged at all district headquarters across the country on Monday.
In view of the nationwide protest, Delhi Police have enhanced security at city border points.
Multi-layered cemented barriers, additional police force and barbed wires formed the first layer of security at the protest site at the Singhu border. The second layer of barricades deployed by Delhi Police is being guarded by a team of the Rapid Action Force along with paramilitary forces. Then crossing through the toll plaza, as one reaches the main barricades, heavy police presence is witnessed.
The traffic police have issued advisory to commuters to take alternative routes in view of the farmers’ protests.
“Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, Sabholi & Mangesh borders are closed. Please take alternative routes via Lampur, Safiabad & Singhu school toll tax borders.
“Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba & GTK road. Pl avoid Outer Ring Rd, GTK road, NH-44.
“Gazipur border is closed for traffic coming from Ghaziabad to Delhi due to farmers protests. People are advised to take alternative route for coming to Delhi via Anand Vihar, DND, Chilla, Apsara & Bhopra borders,” Delhi traffic police said in a series of tweets.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are currently 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.
They have expressed apprehension that these laws will pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture. PTI