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Farmers’ protest | We will block highways on February 6, say farmer leaders

Stay put: An aerial view of the Delhi-Ghazipur border where farmers are staging a protest against farm laws, in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: ANI

Farmer leaders heading the agitation against the three farm laws on Monday announced to block the national and State highways across the country on February 6 in support of their demands.

Making the announcement, Balbir Singh Rajewal, who heads a faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union in Punjab, accused the government of repression by blocking roads around the protest sites, suspending Internet services and snapping the water and power supply at the three sites. He was addressing a joint press conference by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a coalition of farmer unions, at the Singhu border here.

Also read: Farmers’ protests | No talks till government creates positive conditions, say unions

Mr. Rajewal said the trains were being diverted to prevent the farmers from reaching the protest sites in the national Capital from the neighbouring States. The Twitter accounts of those supporting the movement were withheld and journalists arrested, he said. “It has, therefore, been decided to block highways for three hours on February 6 in the afternoon in protest against the repressive measures of the government. It was also discussed at the meeting that the budgetary allocation to agriculture has been reduced,” said Mr. Rajewal.

Darshan Pal, Krantikari Kisan Union’s Punjab unit president, said the Delhi police had released a list of 122 people arrested in connection with the violence during the Republic Day. He said a committee had already been set up to meet them in jails and provide them legal aid. Mr. Pal claimed that the Ferozepur-Mumbai Punjab Mail was diverted to Rewari and two more trains were terminated at Rohtak causing inconvenience to hundreds of farmers headed to protest sites.

Also read: Farmers’ protests | Unions open for talks as more farmers join protests

Fears over FCI

Accusing the government of being ‘arrogant’ and ‘shrewd’ to reduce the budgetary allocation for agriculture amid the ongoing agitation, Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav said the government had not allocated anything for the FCI. He said it raised fears that it could be a conspiracy to shut the FCI.

The farmer unions, in a press statement, said the Budget had proved the farmers’ apprehensions right — that this government is on a path of withdrawing support to agriculture, not strengthening it. Despite the huge farmers’ protests and deep discontent at their economic plight, the Union government gave the lowest priority to agriculture. The share of agriculture and allied activities in the Budget has fallen from 5.1% to 4.3%; even in absolute terms, the allocation fell from ₹1.54 lakh crore to ₹1.48 lakh crore.

Also read: Farmers protest: Despite increasing number of barricades thousands converge at Ghazipur

Even as the farmers announced the protest plan, the Ministry of Home Affairs extended the suspension of Internet till 11 p.m. on February 2 at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri — the three protest sites .

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 6:37:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-protest-we-will-block-highways-on-february-6-say-farmer-leaders/article33721134.ece

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