Farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws entered day 14 on Wednesday amid indications the impasse between the government and farm unions will not end anytime soon. As protesting farmers continue to sit on the outskirts of Delhi, occupying various highways leading to the national capital, sixth round of talks between the Centre and farm leaders is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, though its fate hangs in balance after “informal” talks between Union home minister Amit Shah and farmer leaders, which took place late Tuesday night, failed to break the deadlock.
Here’s all you need to know about the farmers’ stir as it enters day 14:
- Farm union leaders will on Wednesday decide whether to proceed with sixth round of talks, scheduled to take place later in the day. Speaking to news agency ANI, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, who attended the meeting with Shah, said the government will give a proposal to farmers which, he said, will be discussed.
- 13 farm union leaders attended the meeting with Shah. While the meeting was originally scheduled to begin at 7pm, it got delayed as there was confusion over the venue. Some leaders arrived at Shah’s residence while others reached Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) guesthouse in Pusa, where the talks finally took place.
- At the meeting, leaders reiterated their demand for a complete rollback. Shah, however, said Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar would present a “concrete proposal” in Wednesday’s talks. The two sides have thus far held five rounds of talks, including three last week, on December 1, 3 and 5.
- A nationwide Bharat Bandh was organised on Tuesday against the three farm laws. The bandh, which was supported by almost all Opposition parties, was largely peaceful. There were, however, stray incidents of protesters blocking highways and railway tracks.
- On Tuesday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged party convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had been put under “house arrest” by the Delhi Police, which refuted the claims. After AAP workers, including deputy CM Manish Sisodia sat on a ‘dharna’ outside Kejriwal’s residence, the police gave them permission to go inside.
- Later, addressing AAP workers, Kejriwal claimed he was put under house arrest as the Centre was “angry” with him for rejecting Delhi Police’s request to turn nine stadiums into temporary prisons and for meeting protesting farmers at Singhu border on Monday. “I planned to go at the border today not as a CM but as common man but I think they came to know about my plan,” he said.
- A delegation of Opposition leaders will call upon President Ram Nath Kovind at 5pm on Wednesday to discuss with him the ongoing agitation and urge him to repeal the laws. Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja and TKS Elangovan of the DMK will meet President Kovind.
- Farmers, most of whom are from Punjab, have been protesting against what they call “black laws” since September, the month these legislations were passed. Initially they sat on railway tracks in Punjab but later announced ‘Dilli Chalo’ march for November 26.
- While on their way to Delhi, the protesting farmers faced stiff resistance from the Haryana Police but managed to reach the capital city. Most are protesting at various borders leading to Delhi while some are at the Nirankari grounds in Burari, the site allotted to them by the Delhi Police.
- Farmers have repeatedly said they only want a complete rollback and will not settle for anything less. They have also threatened to block all highways leading to Delhi and claim to have enough ration and other essential items with them to last for months.