A number of "khaps" in UP's Muzaffarnagar have extended support to the farmers' agitation against the Centre's new agri laws and will join the ongoing protests at Delhi's border points on December 17.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the chiefs of "khaps" (caste councils) held on Monday at Shoram village in the Shahpur police station area here, Subhash Balyan, secretary of All Khap council, said.
The "khap" chiefs termed the Centre's three new agri marketing laws "anti-farmer" and called for their repeal, he said, adding that they have decided to reach Delhi on December 17 to support the agitation.
Balyan Khap head and Bhartiya Kisan Union national president Naresh Tikait, Latyan Khap head Bijender Singh, Desh Khap head Sharanvir Singh, Ahlavat Khap head Gajendra Singh, Nirval Khap head Rajvir Mundet, Kundu Khap head Choudhry Upendra Kundu and Benival Khap head Amit Benival were among those who attended the meeting, Subhash Balyan said.
Farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.