Farmers’ protest: Unions adamant on holding tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21

The meeting between Delhi Police and farmer unions has ended with farmers not yielding over holding tractor rally on Republic Day.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range) SS Yadav coordinated the meeting, which was being held at Mantram Resort near the Singhu border.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha leaders said the farmers across the country arriving in Delhi would hold the tractor parade inside Delhi on January 26.

Emerging from meeting with officials, Balbir Singh Rajewal said the government was firm that farmers should not march on Outer Ring Road. However, unions are also firm that there is no other alternative, he said.

Meanwhile, the farmers are meeting shortly to discuss the Centre’s proposal regarding suspending the three contentious laws.

Farmers are believed to be considering adding some new demands, like loan waiver and ‘martyr’ status for farmers who have died during the agitation

A similar meeting was held on Wednesday 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.

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 will pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. (With PTI)

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