In Mumbai, farmers from different districts of Maharashtra have gathered for a sit-in in Azad Maidan to express solidarity with farmers protesting in Delhi
NEW DELHI — Farmers Unions coordinating the protests along the borders of Delhi on Monday announced that they will march towards parliament on February 1, the day when the Union Budget will be presented by the Finance Minister.
The announcement for the proposed march, a step to mount pressure on the government to repeal the controversial farm laws, comes a day ahead of the Republic Day tractor rally by farmers in and around Delhi.
In the last few days thousands of tractors have made their way from Punjab and Haryana to the protest sites on the Delhi border to take part in the Republic Day parade.
The farmers unions have said they will continue their protests until the laws are repealed. This Republic Day, for the first time since independence, the farmers will march in a unique ‘Kisan Parade’ carrying the national flag.
A civil society group called Delhi Welcome Committee For Kisan Parade has appealed to the citizens of Delhi to come out “overwhelmingly” in support of the protesting farmers who are planning a tractor rally in and around Delhi as Republic day parade on January 26.
“The struggle is against corporate take-over of Indian agriculture and is a struggle that every citizen should come in support of,” the group said in the statement.
Meanwhile, farmers from different districts of the state on Monday gathered in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan in solidarity with farmers gathering in Delhi. The protesting farmers were addressed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. He lashed out at the Centre saying those who are in power don’t care about farmers.
The farmers have arrived in a convoy of 500 vehicles to begin their three-day sit-in, the Indian Express reported.
The Rajasthan unit of Congress said the entire country is supporting the tractor rally of farmers.
The Trinamool Congress leader and parliament member Derek O’Brien while expressing his party’s support to protesting farmers said that repealing of laws is the only option and rejected the idea of redrafting or amending the laws.
The farmers have been protesting against the three Anti-Farmer Acts and Amendments to the Electricity Act as these Acts as they say threaten agriculture and will expose them to corporate profiteering at the expense of the farmers.
Moreover, critics say it is also going to affect food security of the country and promote “corporate hoarding and black-marketing which will “lead to price rise for the masses”.
The protests have been going on for the last eight months as the logjam between government and farm leaders continue despite several rounds of talks.
The Central Trade Unions, different class and mass organisations as well as people from different walks of life have lent their support to the protests.
Since late November hundreds of thousands of farmers have been camping in protest seeking the repeal of the farm reforms and demanding assured remunerative Minimum Support Price for their produce.
More than 150 farmers have died during the protests.