As the face-off between the farmers and the government intensifies, the farmers body has declared a nationwide agitation on February 6. This comes barely a week after the violence in the national capital on India’s 72nd Republic Day.
As per reports, Balbir Singh Rajewal of Bhartiya Kisan Union (R) was quoted as saying- “There will be a country-wide agitation on February 6. We will block roads between 12pm and 3pm.”
The announcement was made at the Singhu border and the farmers will block national and state highways for three hours to lodge their protest, said reports.
Reportedly, the road blockade has been called by farm union to reinforce their demands of the repeal of the farm laws, against the suspension of internet and barricading of roads, and against the budget announced on Monday.
It needs to be mentioned here that earlier on Monday, in an effort to stop the protesting farmers the Delhi Police have turned the border areas Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur into fortresses. The police beefed up security and strengthened barricades, constructed makeshift walls, and cemented a bed of nails to stop the protesting farmers.
The umbrella body of farmers’ unions protesting the Central farm laws termed the “frequent Internet shutdown” at protest sites and blocking of many Twitter accounts related to the farmers movement a “direct attack on democracy”.
Taking a jibe at the Centre, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today shared pictures of barricades and concertina wires placed near farmer protest sites at border joints near Delhi with a four-word message to the government – “build bridges, not walls”.
Farmers have been protesting against the three contentious farm laws passed by the central govt. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. They had first come in the month of June as the three Ordinances before being approved by Parliament during the Monsoon Session by a voice vote.
The farmers who have been protesting for more than two months have demanded that the laws be repealed. While the government says the farm laws will open up new avenues for the farmers to increase their income. The protesters, on the other hand, say the new laws will make them vulnerable to private traders.
Farm leaders have rejected a Supreme Court of India stay order on the farm laws as well as the involvement of a Supreme Court appointed committee. Nine rounds of talks have taken place between the central government and farmers represented by the farm unions between 14 October 2020 and 15 January 2021; all were inconclusive.