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Farmers’ tractor rally on R-Day: No headway at police-farmer unions meeting

Farmers during their ongoing agitation against Centre's farm reform laws at Ghazipur border, in New Delhi on January 21, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The second round of meeting between the police and farmer unions regarding the proposed January 26 tractor rally by them remained inconclusive on Thursday as the farmers stuck to their demand of taking out the rally on Delhi’s busy Outer Ring Road.

Taking to reporters after the meeting, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav said the police wanted the farmer leaders to take out their tractor rally outside the national capital.

“We will do our parade peacefully inside Delhi. They wanted us to hold the tractor rally outside Delhi, which is not possible,” Mr. Yadav, who is actively participating in the ongoing agitation against the Centre’s new farm laws, said.

Sources said police officers tried to convince the protesting farm unions to hold their tractor rally on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway instead of the Outer Ring Road, but in vain.

A farmer leader, who attended the meeting with the police, said, “The government wants us to take out our rally outside Delhi, but we want to hold it inside Delhi. No decision was taken in today’s meeting.” Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range) S.S. Yadav coordinated the meeting held at Mantram Resort near the Singhu border.

The meeting was also attended by Special Commissioner (Law and Order-Western Zone) Sanjay Singh, Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Dependra Pathak and other senior officers from Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh police.

A similar meeting was held on January 20 between the union leaders and officers of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana police at Vigyan Bhawan to discuss the route and arrangements of the proposed rally on January 26.

However, the farmer unions had rejected a suggestion by the police officers to hold the rally on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway instead of Delhi’s busy Outer Ring Road, sources said.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at several Delhi border points against the Centre’s new agriculture laws for nearly two months. The unions representing the farmers have begun holding tractor rallies at villages in Punjab to mobilise people for the demonstration on Republic Day.

The farmers are vehemently opposing the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP (minimum support price) and do away with the “mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 7:06:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-tractor-rally-on-r-day-no-headway-at-police-farmer-unions-meeting/article33624980.ece

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