'Delhi Chalo' march: Farmers to stay put at Punjab-Haryana borders

Union ministers and farmer leaders will now meet on 18 February for the fourth round of talks

Farmers protest at at Punjab-Haryana borders (photo: @Politics_2022_/X)
Farmers protest at at Punjab-Haryana borders (photo: @Politics_2022_/X)


Protesting farmers will stay put at the two borders of Punjab and Haryana over their various demands as the deadlock persisted despite the third round of talks with a panel of Union ministers.

A five-hour meeting, which started around 8:45 pm on Thursday, 15 February, between three Union ministers and the farmer leaders remained inconclusive.

The two sides will now meet on 18 February for the fourth round of talks. The two previous rounds of dialogue on 8 and 12 February also remained inconclusive.

Union agriculture and farmer welfare minister Arjun Munda, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and minister of state for Home affairs Nityanand Rai represented the Centre at Thursday's meeting over the farmer unions' various demands, including a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann and finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema also joined the meeting at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration in Sector 26 in Chandigarh.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha have given a 'Delhi Chalo' call to press the BJP-led central government to accept their demands.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Union Minister Munda said the meeting between the government and the farmer leaders took place in a cordial atmosphere.

There was a positive discussion, he said.

The talks will continue and will now take place on Sunday at 6 pm, he said.

"We will find a solution by sitting together," he added.

Mann said a detailed discussion took place between farmer leaders and the ministers.

"There was a detailed discussion on each issue," he said.

Mann said he raised with the Centre the issue of suspension of internet services in certain areas in Sangrur, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib, and that of Haryana security personnel using a drone to drop tear gas shells on protesters inside Punjab's territory.

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said a detailed discussion was held on their demands, including a legal guarantee for MSP and a debt waiver.

"They (Union ministers) said they need time," said Pandher.

"We want that there should be a positive result and any confrontation should be avoided. Otherwise, our programme to go to Delhi stands," he said.

Responding to a question on whether farmers will stay put at the Punjab-Haryana borders, Pandher said, "Yes".

During the meeting with the Union ministers, the farmer leaders took exception to the suspension of the social media accounts of various leaders.

Pandher said they also raised the issue of tear gas shelling by the paramilitary forces on farmers at the Shambhu and Khanuri borders.

He said they showed the shells to the ministers during the meeting.

Farmers from Punjab began their march to the national capital on Tuesday but were stopped by security personnel at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points between Delhi and Haryana.

The protesting farmers have been camping at the border points.

On Tuesday, farmers, mainly from Punjab, had clashed with Haryana Police at two border points between the states, facing tear gas and water cannons as they tried to break the barricades.

Besides a legal guarantee on MSP, the farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases and "justice" for the victims of the 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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