Farmers to gather at Jantar Mantar from today in bid to revitalise protest against agri laws

A group of 200 farmers have been allowed to travel to Jantar Mantar from the Singhu border in buses with a police escort and hold protests there from 11 am to 5 pm.

Farmers to gather at Jantar Mantar from today in bid to revitalise protest against agri laws
Farmers during their protest against three farm reform laws at Ghazipur border in New Delhi on Wednesday (Picture Credit: PTI)

New Delhi: In a bid to bring their protest back in focus, farmers agitating against the three contentious farm laws will start holding a stir at Jantar Mantar from Thursday. The protest will be held under heavy security with Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal giving special permission for demonstrations by a maximum of 200 people till August 9.

As per the order by Delhi Disaster Management Authority, a group of 200 farmers have been allowed to travel to Jantar Mantar from the Singhu border in buses with a police escort and hold protests there from 11 am to 5 pm. The Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers’ union which has been spearheading the protest against the farm laws, has been asked to give an undertaking that all Covid norms would be followed and the stir would be peaceful.

Although the SKM said that their protest at the Jantar Mantar will continue till the end if the Monsoon Session of Parliament on August 13, the L-G has given permission for protest till August 9. Gathering for protests is currently not allowed in the national capital, under a DDMA order.

This is the first time authorities have granted permission to protesting farmer unions to hold a protest in the city since the violence in the national capital during a tractor rally on January 26.

A tractor parade organised by farmer organisations in Delhi on January 26 had dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the national capital as thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with the police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

The Delhi police, in a statement, said after multiple rounds of negotiations with SKM and Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, on being assured in writing that they would maintain peace and with the approval of DDMA they have been allowed to protest at Jantar Mantar with limited numbers not exceeding 200 people for SKM and six for KMSC from 11 am up to 5 pm daily.

“They would be escorted to the designated location from Singhu border in buses. They have been advised to observe Covid-appropriate behaviour and social distancing,” the statement said.

The farmer unions have also been advised not to take out any march in view of Covid restrictions. The Delhi Police has put in place extensive arrangements to ensure that the protest programme remains peaceful, it added.

Thousands of farmers from across the country have been agitating at three Delhi border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — against the three farm laws that they claim will do away with the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.

Over 10 rounds of talks with the government, which has been projecting the laws at major agricultural reforms, have failed to break the deadlock between the two parties.

The SKM had initially proposed that the protesting farmers will hold a ‘Kisan Parliament’ at Jantar Mantar every day, a few metres from Parliament.

After a meeting with Delhi Police officials on Tuesday, a farm union leader said they will hold peaceful demonstrations at Jantar Mantar demanding scrapping of the agri laws and no protester will go to Parliament.

“We will hold ‘Kisan Parliament’ from July 22 till the monsoon session ends and 200 protesters will go to Jantar Mantar every day. One speaker and one deputy speaker will be chosen every day.”

“In the first two days, there will be a discussion over the APMC Act. Later, the other bills will also be discussed every two days,” a leader had said.

Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh national president Shiv Kumar Kakka on Tuesday told PTI that farmers, wearing identification badges, will go to Jantar Mantar from the Singhu border to hold the protest.

“We informed the police that every day 200 farmers will go to Jantar Mantar from the Singhu border in buses during the monsoon session. It will be a peaceful demonstration and protesters will have identification badges.

“When police asked us to reduce the number of protesters, we told them to focus on the law-and-order situation and also gave assurance that the protest will be peaceful,” Kakka had said.