New Delhi: Following the clashes and massive tractor parade on January 26 in Delhi, farmers protesting over GoI’s three contentious farm laws on Wednesday said they have suspended plans for a march to parliament next Monday (February 1) when India’s annual budget will be unveiled.

The farmers have also held “miscreants” and “agents of the government” responsible for the violent clashes. During the violent clashes, one death and many injuries were also reported after a tractor overturned during the rally.

Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of Delhi for two months refusing to budge till the government of India scraps the laws. In September 2020, GoI introduced the three new farm laws.

“More than 2 lakh tractors joined yesterday’s rally. 99.9 per cent protesters were peaceful. It was a target of government’s conspiracy,” Balbir Singh Rajewal, one of the senior leaders of the farmers’ movement told a news conference at Singhu, one of the epicentres of the sit-in protests.

He and other protest leaders accused Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu and a union Punjab Kisan Mazdur Sangharsh Committee of a role in ‘diverting the tractor rally from the agreed route and storming of Delhi’s historic Red Fort’.

“These miscreants had declared that they will go to Red Fort. They had a deal with the government. Authorities let them easily enter Red Fort. Deep Sidhu is Amit Shah and (PM Narendra) Modi’s agent,” NDTV quoted Rajewal as saying.

Apologising to the public for the chaos and unrest on Tuesday, he said, “1st Feb’s march to parliament is postponed. We will have a jan sabha (public meeting) and anshan (hunger strike) on January 30 which is Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary.”

Farmers believe that the new agriculture laws will open agricultural sale and marketing outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis for farmers, remove the barriers to inter-state trade, and provide a framework for electronic trading of agricultural produce.

Since the state governments will not be able to collect market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC markets, farmers believe the laws will gradually end the mandi system and leave farmers at the mercy of corporates.

They are also of the opinion that dismantling the mandi system will bring an end to the assured procurement of their crops at MSP. Similarly, farmers believe the price assurance legislation may offer protection to farmers against price exploitation, but will not prescribe the mechanism for price fixation.

Farmers are demanding the government guarantee MSP in writing, or else the free hand given to private corporate houses will lead to their exploitation.

 

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