Farmers’ protest 2024 updates | Union ministers hold talks with union leaders in Chandigarh

Three Union ministers began their third round of talks with the leaders of protesting farmer unions in Chandigarh Thursday evening, amid a standoff between the protesters and security personnel at two points on the Punjab-Haryana border.

February 15, 2024 10:03 am | Updated February 16, 2024 11:13 am IST

Security personnel stand guard as brickbats and stones lie on the roads at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border, during the farmers' 'Delhi Chalo' march, in Patiala district, on February 15, 2024.

Security personnel stand guard as brickbats and stones lie on the roads at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border, during the farmers' 'Delhi Chalo' march, in Patiala district, on February 15, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

In response to the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha’s ongoing “Delhi Chalo” agitation, Union Ministers Arjun Munda, Piyush Goyal and Nityanand Rai met farmer representatives. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also joined the meeting at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration in Sector 26.

Also read | Farmers’ protest 2024, Bharat Bandh LIVE Updates

This will be the third round of talks between the two sides - the previous two rounds of dialogue on February 8 and 12 remained inconclusive.

The protest was started to pressure on the BJP-led Centre for farmers’ demands, including a law on a minimum support price (MSP) for crops and loan waivers. The Centre had made it clear that announcing a guaranteed MSP will not be possible

Also read | In Frames | Farmers’ protests 2024

Haryana security personnel lobbed tear gas shells on farmers from Punjab at Shambhu border between the two States as thousands of protesters stayed put there today, the second day of their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march. 

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  • February 15, 2024 22:40
    Bharat Bandh on Friday: Noida police issues traffic advisory, imposes restrictions

    The Gautam Buddh Nagar Police on Thursday said restrictions under CrPC Section 144, including a ban on unauthorised public assemblies, would be enforced across the district in view of Bharat Bandh called by farmers’ unions on Friday.

    The police also cautioned commuters going to Delhi and coming back from the capital city of traffic diversions in Noida and urged citizens to opt for metro rail service “as far as possible” to avoid inconvenience.

    The decisions have been taken in view of the proposed protest marches called by the farmers’ body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and other unions, the police said. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 22:03
    ‘Delhi Chalo’ march: Farmers ‘hell bent’ on stopping lifeline of northern states, says Haryana govt

    Farmers’ unions are “hell bent” on stopping the lifeline of northern states and their movement has instilled a “sense of fear” among the people of the state, the Haryana government submitted before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday. 

    The submission was filed in an affidavit before a division bench of Acting Chief Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Vikas Suri. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 20:43
    Three Union ministers begin talks with protesting farmer leaders in Chandigarh

    Three Union ministers began their third round of talks with farmer leaders in Chandigarh, amid a standoff between the protesters and security personnel at two points on Punjab-Haryana border.

    Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also joined the meeting.

    Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister Arjun Munda, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai are representing the central government in the meeting over farmer unions’ demands, including a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops.

    The meeting is being held at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration in Sector 26. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 20:10
    Haryana extends suspension of mobile Internet services in 7 districts till Feb 17

    The Haryana government on Thursday extended the ban on mobile Internet and bulk SMS services in seven districts by two days till February 17 in view of the farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation.

    These districts are Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa, the government said in an order. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 19:44
    Farmers’ protest: Commuters inconvenienced as Singhu border remains closed for traffic

    Carrying luggage, while accompanying their little children, several commuters faced difficulties as the Singhu border remained closed for traffic for the third consecutive day on Thursday in view of the farmers’ protest.

    Some people also had to cross the Delhi-Haryana border on foot while carrying their little children in arms.

    Sagar Singh, who was coming from Panipat and going towards Bawana, said, “I am going to see my ailing mother-in-law in Bawana. The current situation is not conducive to travelling at night or even otherwise.” 

    Rohit Kumar was returning from Ambala to Delhi after attending a wedding. He said the authorities should provide a proper alternative so that the commuters do not face such kind of inconvenience. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 19:23
    Board exams held hassle-free despite high security measures at Tikri border

    Despite heightened security measures at the Tikri border in view of the farmers’ protest, board exams were held hassle-free and no delay was reported in the conduct of examination. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 18:30
    BJP govt at the Centre had made three “black laws”: Dotasra

    Targeting the central government on the farmers’ movement, Mr. Dotasra said the BJP government at the Centre had made three “black laws” for a few industrialists and not for the benefit of farmers.

    “The three black laws were imposed on the farmers for the benefit of a few industrialists and not for the benefit of farmers,” he said.

    Accusing the government of adopting an “unfair attitude” towards the farmers, he said, “Today again when the farmers are protesting peacefully and are trying to express their views, they are being suppressed and bullets are being fired, tear gas is being released, they are being attacked with drones. In this democratic country, does no one have the right to protest and express their views?” He said that Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge have said clearly that as soon as the party comes to power, an MSP for farmers will be implemented.

    “Congress party does what it says and has already waived off farmers’ loans worth ₹72,000 crore. It always talks about the interest of farmers and the BJP always talks about misleading them,” he said.

  • February 15, 2024 18:24
    Rajasthan Congress extends support to farmers’ bandh call

    Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra said that the party will support the call of bandh by farmers for their demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price for their crops.

    “Farmers have called for a bandh on Friday. The Congress has also decided to support the farmers’ strike call. We will remain with the farmers’ movement while ensuring that there is no violence, no damage to any government property,” Mr. Dotasra told reporters at a press conference. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 18:11
    Protesting farmers fighting for country, just like soldiers do on borders: Rahul

    Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “The protesting farmers are fighting for our nation, just like the soldiers do on the borders.” 

    Criticising the Narendra Modi-led central government, Mr. Gandhi claimed that it waived loans of the “super rich worth ₹14 lakh crore, while the expenditure on MGNREGA is only ₹70,000 crore.” - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 17:09
    Two years passed; but nothing has happened: Digvijaya Singh

    “Two years have passed but nothing has happened. The same farmers, in order to remind Modi of his promise, decided to march towards the national capital. But they are being prevented and barred from moving towards the national capital,” Mr. Singh said. 

    “Nails have been inserted on roads, and other hurdles have been created on the national highway to prevent the movement of farmers. Teargas shells are being lobbed using drones, rubber bullets are being fired. We strongly condemn it and we want a legal guarantee on MSP to be given,” he asserted.

    “Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has already announced that the farmers’ key demand for a law guaranteeing minimum support price (MSP) for various crops will be fulfilled once the INDIA bloc comes to power at the Centre,” Mr. Singh said. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 17:02
    Congress leader Digvijaya Singh attacks BJP, PM Modi

    Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh attacked the BJP-led Centre for allegedly not fulfilling its promises to farmers, including providing a legal guarantee for MSP, and for using force to stop protesting farmers from marching to Delhi to put forth their demands. 

    Mr. Singh also criticised the Narendra Modi government for nominating Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal to hold talks with the protesting farmer leaders, asking what he had to do with farmers and agriculture.

    “Two years ago, when the country’s farmers staged a protest on the outskirts of Delhi, the prime minister promised to consider legal guarantee for MSP and to fulfill their other demands,” he recalled. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 16:04
    Release Karnataka farmers: Siddaramaiah

    Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah requested his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Mohan Yadav to release the farmers from the State, who were detained in Bhopal while travelling to the national capital to participate in the protest.

    A group of farmers from Karnataka travelling from Bengaluru to Delhi to participate in a protest against the “anti-farmer policies” of the Central government have been detained in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal without any reason, he said in a letter to Mr. Yadav.

    “It has been four days since the farmers have been detained and they have not been released yet,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

    “It is now learnt that your police authorities are shifting them to Varanasi. Travelling to Delhi to participate in a peaceful protest is the Constitutional right of the people. It is highly unfortunate that farmers who are seeking better policies are being arrested and ill treated by police authorities in Madhya Pradesh,” the letter said. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 15:54
    BJP runs ‘government of Ravan’ at Centre: Mamata Banerjee

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the BJP over the ongoing farmers’ protest, claiming that the party is running a “government of Ravan” at the Centre, which has crossed all limits of civility.

    While speaking in the Assembly, Ms. Banerjee said she had decided to postpone her scheduled visit to Punjab to express her solidarity with the farmers.

    “Farmers are protesting and the country is burning. But the BJP is not bothered. It is the government of Ravan, which has crossed all Lakshman Rekhas. The day farmers reach Delhi, the BJP leaders will understand the reality,” she said. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 15:51
    Trains diverted as farmers squat on tracks in Punjab

    Some trains on the Delhi-Amritsar route were diverted after farmers squatted on tracks at many places in Punjab over the Haryana Police’s action against ‘Delhi Chalo’ protesters.

    Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) and BKU Dakunda (Dhaner) had given the call for a four-hour ‘rail roko’ protest at several places in Punjab. 

    As farmers are sitting on the railway tracks at several places on the main Delhi-Amritsar route, railway authorities diverted the routes of the trains via Chandigarh (for Delhi side) and Lohian Khas (for Amritsar and Jalandhar side). Farmers began their stir around 12 p.m. by squatting on rail tracks at several places. The demonstrations are likely to continue till 4 p.m.

    A spokesperson of Indian Railways said Shatabdi and Shan-e-Punjab Express trains coming from Delhi were terminated at the Ludhiana railway station. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 15:47
    Attitude of government is unfortunate, authoritarian: Tarigami

    People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) extended support to the ‘Gramin Bharat Bandh’ called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM). 

    “The leadership of the PAGD is of the view that the demands of the farmers are genuine and we are extending our support to them,” senior CPI(M) leader and spokesperson of the PAGD M. Y. Tarigami said.

    Lashing out at the government for using force against the protesting farmers to stop them from moving to Delhi, Mr. Tarigami said, “The attitude of the government is unfortunate and authoritarian.”

    “Instead of holding purposeful and meaningful dialogue with the representatives of farmers, they are resorting to creating division among the peasants, workers and trade unions, and using authoritarian measures and police force to dislodge them,” he said, adding “enough is enough as claims are not sufficient for addressing issues being faced by people”. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 14:54
    We have objection to farmers’ method: Haryana CM Khattar

    Haryana Chief Minister Manohar criticised the “method” adopted by farmers to press their demands, saying they are trying to march to Delhi like an Army on the offensive. He said the farmers are moving with tractor-trolleys, earth-movers and ration for a year – just like an Army.

    “We have an objection to their method,” Mr. Khattar said on the farmers’ call for going to Delhi. “We do not have any objection to them going to Delhi. There are trains, buses and their own vehicles. But a tractor is not a mode of transport. It is an agricultural equipment.” Farmers from Punjab are camping at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points seeking to march towards Delhi to press the Centre to accept their demands.

    Mr. Khattar also referred to the farmers’ previous agitation against the now-repealed farm laws and said how they camped at Tikri and Singhu borders for a year and causes hardships to many people. - PTI

  • February 15, 2024 14:04
    Internet services suspended in parts of Punjab till Feb 16

    Internet services have been suspended in certain areas of Punjab’s Patiala, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts till February 16 on the orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

    The order came in the wake of the farmers ‘Delhi Chalo’ march.

    According to the ministry order, internet services will remain suspended in areas falling under police stations Shatrana, Samana, Ghanaour, Devigarh and Balbhera in Patiala, areas under police stations Khanauri, Moonak, Lehra, Sunam, Chajli in Sangrur and area under Fatehgarh Sahib police station.

    The Haryana government has already suspended mobile internet services and bulk SMS in Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts.

  • February 15, 2024 13:20
    M.S. Swaminathan’s daughter urges Centre to not to treat farmers as criminals

    The late M.S. Swaminathan’s daughter, economist Madhura Swaminathan, during a speech at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, urged the Centre to not to treat farmers as criminals. “They are farmers, not criminals. We need to talk to our annadatas. We have to find solutions. In any future strategy we plan, we have to take the farmers with us,” she said. ​Read more

  • February 15, 2024 12:03
    Bharat Ratna to MSS Swaminathan not sufficient, endorse his recommendations: Yechury

    Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday accused the Centre of ignoring the Swaminathan Commission’s report.

    He said that conferring the Bharat Ratna to the agricultural scientist was not enough, and the government should respect the people who feed the nation.”The demand (of farmers) is for a minimum support price at 50 per cent of the cost of comprehensive production costs...That is exactly what the Swaminathan Commission has recommended and Swaminathan was conferred the Bharat Ratna by PM Modi himself recently. Conferring awards is not sufficient. Respecting the farmers and respecting the people who feed all of us is what is required of this government,” he said. - ANI

  • February 15, 2024 11:26
    Singhu, Tikri borders remain sealed , Delhi Police extra vigilant

    Two key border points between Delhi and Haryana remain closed for traffic while security personnel in anti-riot gears were deployed at strategic locations in the national capital as farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation entered the third day on Thursday.

    While the two borders - Tikri and Singhu -- with Haryana remain closed, movement was allowed through the Ghazipur border with Uttar Pradesh under the watch of security personnel.

    According to senior police officer, the Delhi Police is on extra vigil though the protesting farmers have been stopped by the Haryana Police at the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana near Ambala.

    In the central part of Delhi as well, the police have put up barricades on several roads leading to Parliament and other sensitive locations. PTI

  • February 15, 2024 11:10
    MSP guarantee can nudge farmers to diversify beyond paddy and wheat: CRISIL

    Guaranteeing a Minimum Support Price (MSP) across crops will support farm incomes and push consumption demand¸ says CRISIL Market Intelligence & Analytics, estimating that the “real cost” of such a guarantee for the government would be around ₹21,000 crore in the agriculture Marketing Year (MY) 2023.

    Noting that MSP-based procurement is currently only done in a few States—Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Chhatisgarh—the firm said an MSP guarantee will percolate the benefit to farmers across the country. Read more

  • February 15, 2024 10:54
    Before ‘new guarantees’, calculate the ‘old guarantees’: Rahul
  • February 15, 2024 10:47
    Blockades prove dampener for wedding parties, banquet halls

    Banquet halls dotting the GT-Karnal highway have reported a sizeable loss in business after the heavy fortifications at the Singhu border disrupted the movement of both wedding parties and staff from Delhi and Haryana.

    Owners and managers at several banquet halls told The Hindu that despite a busy wedding season, traffic snarls and closures have greatly impacted both the number and quality of weddings. Read more

  • February 15, 2024 10:41
    Traffic issues might cause delay for students reaching exam centres

    In light of the board examinations for classes X and XII starting from Thursday, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued an advisory to schools, parents and students to ensure that they reach the examination centres well before time, to avoid delays because of traffic jams due to the ongoing farmers’ protests.

    More than 39 lakh students will appear from India and 26 countries abroad, said Dr. Sanyam Bhardwaj, Controller of Examinations. In Delhi, 5,80,192 students from 877 examination centres will appear in the Board examinations. Read more

  • February 15, 2024 10:38
    Centre used British-era Act to block Internet in Punjab

    As Punjab farmer groups prepared for this week’s protest march to Delhi, the Union government invoked its powers under a British-era law to suspend mobile Internet in certain districts of the State last week, citing a public emergency and public safety. This is the first time the Union government has issued such orders to block the Internet, outside of the national capital. Read more

  • February 15, 2024 10:33
    Delhi Police orders 30,000 tear gas shells

    The Delhi Police has placed orders for more than 30,000 tear gas shells, an official said, as the force prepares to prevent Punjab farmers from entering the national capital under their ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest.

    Hundreds of farmers marching from Punjab have been stopped at the state’s border with Haryana near Ambala, about 200 kilometers away from Delhi. Haryana security forces have used tear gas on them to try and disperse them.

    A Delhi Police source said they are determined to not let the protesters enter the national capital should they advance.

    As part of the preparation, the Delhi Police has already stocked up a large number of tear gas shells and ordered 30,000 more from the BSF’s Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) located at Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior, an official said.

  • February 15, 2024 10:19
    Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher criticised the centre’s way of handling the protests

    A meeting of the farmer unions and the central government has been scheduled for today at 5 pm.

    Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher criticised the centre’s way of handling the protests pointing out the high-level security measures involving even para-military forces.

    ”There were injuries to the farmers, our medical practitioner here is saying that one bandage is being applied every minute, which means 60 bandages are being applied in an hour. Here at the Shambhu border, this kind of heavy use of security and resistance, is being made from the other side, and secondly, it is not the police but the paramilitary forces who are attacking us,” he said.

    ”This is the first time that any government of the country has used paramilitary forces against the farmer labour movement, I would like to tell. Tear gas is commonly used, but look at the other ways, smoke cell air bursts are also being utilized, smoke cell ground bursts are also being used and heavy explosion emissions are also being utilized. All this is going on like this, that is why we say that the way the central government is abusing its power over farmers and labourers, it should think again on these things,” he added.

    ”We are seeing, that the government wants to completely crush the farmer’s movement under its wings, we would like to think about it again, this should not happen, we are farmers and labourers of this country, we are the ones who make the country, this country is ours and the government will have to listen to our voice, otherwise whatever happens next will not be good. We are going to the meeting today in a completely positive mood that some positive solution will emerge from this meeting in the coming time,” the farmer leader said.

    - ANI

  • February 15, 2024 10:03
    “We should be allowed to protest peacefully”: Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher

    We want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold a dialogue with farmers or else we should be allowed to protest peacefully, said the General Secretary of the Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Sarvan Singh Pandher, as the farmers’ protest escalates into a full-blown crisis.

    Mr. Pandher told ANI, “We have a meeting with the Union ministers today. We want PM Modi to have a conversation with them so that we can solve our demands.”

    Stating that India is a democratic country, he said, “We should be allowed to protest peacefully in the National Capital. The government should remove the blockades at all entry points.”

    - ANI

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