Farmers Protest in Delhi LATEST updates: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that a country where farmers are "hungry" cannot succeed.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday joined farmers' protest at Parliament street. Addressing the mega rally in New Delhi, Rahul said that Modi has duped the nation in the name of NPAs; adds that farmers and youth have been ignored by the government.
Rahul said, " Modi ji had promised MSP will be increased, PM promised bonus, but look at the situation right now, empty speeches are being given and nothing else."
Supporting the farmers' march in New Delhi, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda Friday said, along with "ease of doing business", India should also better itself in "ease of doing agriculture". Referring to the Karnataka government's farm loan waiver initiative, the JD(S) supremo urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi issue proper direction to banks who are issuing notices to farmers and creating uncertainties. "Modi Government and BJP are boasting about betterment of India's position in the 'Ease of Doing Business' index. But, with 'Ease of Doing Business', India should also better itself in 'Ease of Doing Agriculture'.
Noting that agriculture is still the backbone of Indian economy, the former prime minister, in another tweet, said, "Eradication of poverty, employment generation, rural development are all possible if India betters itself in 'Ease of Doing Agriculture' too."
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will visit the farmers at 3.30 pm and will likely address the Kisan Kranti March which is currently converged at the Parliament street, according to reports. NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will also join the farmers' protest this evening. Senior JDU leader KC Tyagi, CPI national secretary D Raja and some Samajwadi party leaders are also likely to join the agitation. Apart from Congress, JD(U), Samajwadi Party and other Opposition leaders and activists are at the Jantar Mantar to support the protesting farmers.
Denied permission by police to march to Parliament, more than 50,000 farmers from across the country have converged near Parliament Street Police station in the national capital on Friday, where their leaders addressed the protesters. The national secretary of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Asish Mittal, said farmers from 24 states have also joined the protest to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.
While addressing the farmers at Jantar Mantar, former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said that there are two mantras for farmers liberation — learn to speak up and identify your enemies, which should be easy, Yadav added, "The parties which are not present in the stage today are our enemies."
"Farmers should speak up in unified voice. No party is as anti-farmer as the present regime," said Yadav terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, kisan virodhi.
In a series of tweets, agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan slammed the current political dispensation and said that economic viability is not just important for industrialists. "The loan waiver demand comes from the non-remunerative nature of farming and is indicative that economic viability is as important to farmers as to industrialists. Unfortunately, the then govt did not take action on the National Policy for Farmers (NCF) report presented in 2007."
Tweeting about the ongoing rally in Delhi, agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, known for his leading role in India’s green revolution, tweeted and said, "Evidence of agrarian unrest has been growing and farmers have come to the conclusion that only agitation and not reasoning will lead to action on their problems."
As the kisan rally arrived at the Parliament Street, Tamil Nadu farmers took off their clothes and used the skulls and bones of their "dead crop growers" to cover their private parts. About 1,200 members of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association reached the national capital a day earlier. They claimed that the 'dead remains' were of their fellow farmers, who had "committed suicide". Some protesters were also spotted wearing garland of dairy products.
Delhi commuters are likely to face inconvenience as traffic has been diverted in central Delhi due to the farmers' protest. The protesters have blocked both routes on Jawaharlal Nehru Marg as they have started marching towards Parliament. A few minutes ago, the procession crossed Zakir Hussain College.
Thousands of farmers, including members of Kisan Mukti Morcha, from across India have started heading towards the Parliament in a two-day-long rally to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce. In view of the large-scale agitation, security has been beefed up in the area.
The historic Ramlila Grounds, known for hosting big political events over the years, resonated with slogans like 'Ayodhya nahi, karz maafi chahiye' (need loan waiver, not temple in Ayodhya) as farmers wearing red caps and carrying red flags gathered in the national capital.
Over 3,500 police personnel have deployed as the farmers are likely to begin their march from the Ramlila Maidan to Parliament at 10.30 am.
According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.
As many as 850 police personnel, up to the rank of sub-inspectors, have been deployed in the Central district. They will be augmented by the presence of 12 police companies, including two of women, comprising 75-80 personnel each, a police official said.
Farmers from different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh converged at the Ramlila ground on Thursday.
"We will start marching toward Parliament around 10.30 am. We had discussion with police Thursday night so that the event goes on smoothly," the National Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Atul Anjaan, said.
Traffic was disrupted in many parts of the city on Thursday as the farmers marched to the Ramlila ground in the heart of the city on four different routes -- Anand Vihar, Nizamuddin and Bijwasan railway stations and at Sabzi Mandi.
Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many farmers kept pouring into the city. They came in trains, buses and other modes of transport.
Kamla, a functionary of the All India Kisan Sabha's Delhi unit, said farmers from nearby areas converged at Majnu Ka Tila on the outskirts of Delhi from where they marched in groups to Ramlila Maidan on Thursday.
About 1,200 members of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association reached the national capital in the early hours of Thursday carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide, their leader P Ayyakannu claimed.
Farmers from Tamil Nadu join Kisan Mukti March. Image/News18
The group from Tamil Nadu had threatened to march naked if they are not allowed to go to Parliament on Friday. The group had last year staged protests at Jantar Mantar with the skulls of eight farmers who killed themselves owing to losses.
The AIKSCC has claimed that the two-day rally will be one of the largest congregations of farmers in Delhi.
Five Gurdwaras in the Delhi region have extended their help to the farmers. Also students from various universities turned out in large numbers to lend support to the farmers. The protest also saw participation of a number of women farmers who travelled from various parts of the country.
Volunteers, including doctors, lawyers, professors and artists, all came out in large numbers to help the farmers. Around 600-700 volunteers of a solidarity group Nation For Farmers marched with the protesters from the four assembly points.
The AIKSCC was formed under the aegis of All India Kisan Sabha and other Left-affiliated farmers' bodies in June 2017, following protests by farmers in states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for debt relief and remunerative prices.