Headlines December 22, 2020
Farmers’ start relay hunger strike
An indefinite relay hunger strike started on Monday against the government’s new agricultural laws. Farmers have hardened their position amid protests that began late November around Delhi borders.
After five rounds of negotiations failed, the government asked the protesting farmers to choose a date for the next round of talks. The relay hunger strike is the third major national event by the farmers after a countrywide shutdown earlier this month, which was backed by opposition parties and trade unions.
In a letter to 40 farmer leaders, the government said it’s making all efforts with “an open heart” to find an appropriate solution to resolve all the concerns raised by farmers. Union Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal urged the representatives to provide details of their remaining concerns.
The protesters also appealed to people across the country to skip a meal on Farmers’ Day or Kisan Diwas on Wednesday “to honour the men and women who put food on your table for three meals a day”.
The Delhi-Meerut highway has been partially blocked amid allegations that farmers from other states are not being allowed to join protests near Delhi borders.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have hit out at the government, accusing it of trying to intimidate commission agents known as Arhityas supporting the farmers’ protests. A total of 14 Arhtiyas across Punjab have received notices from the IT department.
Facebook and Instagram accounts being used by the farmers protesting the government’s new agricultural laws were blocked on Sunday following a live broadcast.
The contentious farm laws were voted in Parliament in September with little debate. The Supreme Court last week said farmers protests can continue, stressing on the need to hold talks to resolve deadlock. Critics and opposition parties allege new laws will leave farmers at the mercy of corporates.
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