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Farmers’ Protest: Leaders To Announce Next Course Of Action On Thursday

Farmer leaders put the 'Delhi Chalo' march on hold for two days after a protester was killed and about 12 police personnel were injured in clashes at Khanauri.

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Farmers protest at Shambhu Border | Photo: PTI
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Protesting farmers who began their 'Delhi Chalo' march on Feb 13 to push the Centre to address their demands will announce their next course of action on Thursday afternoon. 

Farmers are demanding the Central government to bring about a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.

On Friday they announced the decision to suspend the ‘Dilli Chalo’ march till February 29.

This decision to this effect was taken by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM), which are spearheading the ongoing agitation at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders.

“The next announcement about the agitation will be made on February 29," KMM leader Pandher told the media at Khanauri protest site. 

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Farmer leaders put the 'Delhi Chalo' march on hold for two days after a protester was killed and about 12 police personnel were injured in clashes at Khanauri. 

So far, thousands of farmers, along with their tractors, attempted to reach the capital city, but the police blocked the borders with barricades. The farmers were dispersed using water cannons and tear gas. Barricades made of metal blocks, barbed wire, and cement boulders were raised. Section 144 was enforced to prohibit gatherings of more than three people.

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There have been four meetings between the government and farmers, but no solid decisions have been made. In the latest meeting on February 18, the government proposed to buy five crops at MSP for five years, but the farmers declined the offer.

What Was The Government's Proposal To Farmers?

The government had proposed buying pulses, maize and cotton at guaranteed floor prices - also known as Minimum Support Price or MSP - through cooperatives for five years.

Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal announced that the panel has proposed the buying of pulses, maize, and cotton crops by government agencies at minimum support prices for five years after entering into an agreement with farmers.

"Cooperative societies like the NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers Federation) and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) will enter into a contract with those farmers who grow 'tur dal', 'urad dal', 'masoor dal’ or maize for buying their crop at MSP for next five years," Goyal said after the meeting.

“There will be no limit on the quantity (purchased) and a portal will be developed for this," he added.

However, the farmers said that they will stand by their demand of a "legal guarantee for MSP on all 23 crops."

What Are Farmers’ Demands?

Besides a legal guarantee of MSP, the farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases and "justice" for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

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The protesters also want India to withdraw from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and scrap all free trade agreements.

The farmers say that the government has not kept the promises made during the 2020-21 protest.

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