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Heavy security deployment seen at Singhu border in New Delhi as farmers headed for the capital to protest against farm laws on Friday. (ANI)
Heavy security deployment seen at Singhu border in New Delhi as farmers headed for the capital to protest against farm laws on Friday. (ANI)

Farmers allowed to enter Delhi, set to stage protest against new farm laws

  • The permission was granted to thousands of agitating farmers after they refused to turn back despite the police using tear gas and water cannons on them.

New Delhi: After hours of a heated stand-off, the Centre on Friday allowed farmers from Punjab and Haryana to enter Delhi and hold a protest. The permission was granted to thousands of agitating farmers after they refused to turn back despite the police using tear gas and water cannons on them.

The protesting farmers have been permitted to hold a demonstration at the Nirankari grounds in Delhi’s Burari area. Earlier in the day, the Delhi government turned down a request from the police to turn stadiums into temporary jails to detain farmers.

The government had to surrender to the will and resolve of farmers to enter Delhi and voice their demands, said a statement released on Friday afternoon by the protesting farmer unions. “Farmers have shown exemplary discipline and restraint by peacefully pushing ahead. Roads were dug up by the administration but farmers filled up the ditches with their own hands," the statement added.

Welcoming the Centre’s decision to allow farmers to enter Delhi, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh urged the entre to hold “immediate talks to resolve the simmering issue."

Farmers from Punjab had met the agriculture and railways minister on 13 November to discuss the new laws but the meeting ended inconclusively. An earlier meeting between farmer unions held in October had ended abruptly.

Protests by farmers have been gathering steam for the past few months ever since the Parliament passed a set of laws ushering in market reforms and allowed traders and food giants to purchase crops directly from farmers, outside regulated wholesale markets.

Farmers fear that by leaving them to market forces, the government will gradually scale down purchase of rice and wheat and minimum support prices. The protests have been largely concentrated in the north-western states of Punjab and Haryana where more than 90% of farmers depend on government purchase of crops.

“It is because our voices were not heard and taken into account while passing the laws, brought about this situation," said a statement from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmer unions created to spearhead the Delhi protests.

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