Farmer unions to go ahead with tractor parade plan on Republic day

Farmer leaders said their protest would be peaceful and all the farmers would carry on their tractors would be the Tricolour.

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Farmers protesting against the three central agricultural laws today decided to go ahead with their January 26 tractor parade and said the march would be organised on Delhi’s Outer Ring Road.

Sanyukt Kisan Morcha leaders distanced themselves from Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Charuni’s programme in Delhi on Sunday in which many Opposition leaders participated.

If there is any big priority of the Modi government, it is to double the farmers’ income. The new laws will increase their income multifold.

The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of around 40 farm unions, made the announcement on the eve of a hearing in the Supreme Court on the Delhi Police’s petition to stop the tractor rally even as the government reiterated it was “ready for anything but repeal” of the laws.

Addressing the media at Singhu border, union leaders, including Darshan Pal, Shiv Kumar Kakka, Hanan Mollah and Jagjeet Singh Dallewal, said their protest would be peaceful and all the farmers would carry on their tractors would be the Tricolour.

“As farmers’ sons (soldiers) observe Republic Day in uniform on the border, the protesting peasants will hit the Outer Ring Road in Delhi on tractors. But there will be no disruption of the Republic Day parade,” said a leader. The tractor parade, they said, would cover a 50-km distance, touching Peeragarhi, Janakapuri, Dhaula Kuan, Munerka, IIT, Khelgaon, Chirag Delhi, Burari, Rohini, Majnu Ka Tilla.

Darshan Pal alleged that the NIA was filing cases against those who were part of the agitation or supporting it. “All farm unions condemn this,” Pal said, referring to the NIA summons reportedly issued to a union leader in a case related to the banned Sikhs for Justice outfit.

The government today reiterated its stand saying “anything but repeal” of the laws was acceptable and the unions should come forward for a clause-by-clause discussion on the legislations in the next round of talks on January 19.

“Now that the Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the laws and formed a four-member committee, there is no question of being stubborn,” said Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar.

The committee, whose member Bhupinder Singh Mann (Bhartiya Kisan Union president) had backed out, is scheduled to hold its first meeting on January 19 at Pusa campus in Delhi, its member Anil Ghanwat said.

The Supreme Court may take into account the matter of Mann’s recusal on Monday when it is scheduled to hear the pleas relating to the controversial laws and the farmers’ protests.

Ghanwat said the committee had received the terms of reference and would begin its work from January 21.

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