Thousands of farmers march to Parliament demanding loan waiver, MSP

Thousands of farmers from across the country reached the Ramlila ground in Delhi for a mega protest march to Parliament Street on Friday.

NH photo by Vipin
NH photo by Vipin
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NH Web Desk

Thousands of the protesting farmers reached Jantar Mantar on the second day of their two-day protest to press a special session of the Parliament to discuss agrarian crisis, higher crop prices and farm loan waiver. There has been heavy deployment of police around the march routes.

These farmers from across the country reached the Ramlila ground in the national capital on Thursday, November 29, had their march Parliament Street.

The joint CP (traffic) said that around 1,000 traffic personnel have been deployed to plan diversions and to keep traffic smooth. Traffic police will give real-time updates on FB&Twitter of affected traffic routes. Commuters were advised to stay updated.

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which has organised the Kisan Mukti March, was allegedly not given required permission by Delhi Police to hold the rally.

Vounteers, including doctors, lawyers, professors and artists, all came out in large numbers to help. Around 600-700 volunteers of ‘Nation For Farmers’ marched with the farmers from four assembly points -Bijwasan, Majnu Ka Tila, Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar.

Five Gurdwaras —Bangla Sahib Gurdwara,  Sisganj Sahib, Rakabganj, Bap Sahib and Manju Ka Tila—provided accommodation to farmers for the night.

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Member of Parliament from Hatkanangle in Kolhapur (Maharashtra) Raju Shetti said if permission is not granted for the rally, the working committee of the AIKSCC would decide the next course of action.

"We were told that our rally would affect traffic in the city. But what happens when traffic is stopped for hours during the Prime minister's movemnet? Can't they spare even one hour for farmers who are fighting for their rights?” said Shetti.

However, The Delhi Police have not granted permission to the farmers to march to the Parliament on Friday, November 30, but have still geared up to handle the crowd and manage traffic disruptions if the protesters decide to walk anyway.

While traffic diversions will be imposed depending on the situation on the roads, the police said that many central Delhi roads are expected to witness jams from 9 am onwards on Friday. “Commuters are advised to keep out of these regions until at least 6 pm, when the farmers are expected to disperse,” said a senior traffic police officer.

According to an advisory issued by the traffic police, the other roads that are likely to be affected will be stretches around Ramlila Ground, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Deshbandhu Gupta Road, Rani Jhansi Road, Mandir Marg, Panchkuian Road, Barakhamba Road, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Janpath, Ashoka Road, Ferozshah Road, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Jai Singh Road and the inner and outer circles of Connaught Place.

“Traffic diversions will be imposed depending on the situation on the roads. Commuters are advised to follow the traffic police’s social media accounts for live updates to avoid getting stuck in jams,” said Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of police (traffic)

If allowed to march from Ramlila Ground to Jantar Mantar, the farmers will pass through Guru Nanak Chowk, Ranjit Singh Flyover and Tolstoy Marg, said the traffic police. But they will not be allowed to get near the Parliament House, police added.

Many political leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, have confirmed their participation in the rally. Additionally, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi, Loktantrik Janata Dal’s Sharad Yadav are among the other leaders who will address the protesting farmers

Many political leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, have confirmed their participation in the rally, he said.

National Conference's Farooq Abdullah, Trinamool Congress' Dinesh Trivedi, Loktantrik Janata Dal's Sharad Yadav are among the other leaders who will address the protesting farmers on Friday.

"(Former Prime Minister) HD Deve Gowda will also join us," Shetti said.

On Friday, November 30, farmers would take over the road leading to Parliament to put forward their demands before the Central government.

'The Kisan Mukti March' will end at Parliament Street and, subsequently, 'Kisan Sansad' (Farmers' Parliament) will be held, in which farm issues will be discussed and speeches will be delivered, an activist said.

Social activists, including Medha Patkar and activist-journalist P. Sainath, have extended their support to the rally and said the situation of farmers in the country has deteriorated.

Also, several prominent writers, intellectuals and artists, including Nayantara Sahgal, K Satchidanandan, Ganesh Devy and Damodar Mauzo, have expressed solidarity with the farmers.

The Friday’s rally would be fourth major farmers rally being held by the AIKSCC, which represents over 200 farm outfits.It has been protesting against “anti-farmer” policies of the BJP government following the Mandsaur firing episode last year, which led to death of six farmers

The Friday's rally would be fourth major farmers rally being held by the AIKSCC, which represents over 200 farm outfits.

It has been protesting against "anti-farmer" policies of the BJP government following the Mandsaur firing episode last year, which led to death of six farmers.

Shetti has introduced two private member's Bills in the Lok Sabha in 2017, seeking a loan waiver and a guaranteed remunerative prices for agricultural commodities based on the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.

The AIKSCC has demanded a special session of Parliament so that these Bills are discussed and passed.

It said 21 political parties have extended their support to the Bills. It has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join the protest march.

On Monday, a book authored by Yogendra Yadav detailing how the Modi government's policies have led to a drop in farmers' income and caused rural distress across the country was launched in the capital.

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Published: 30 Nov 2018, 8:26 AM
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