Headlines September 26, 2020
Massive protest by farmers’ groups
Over 265 farmers’ groups took to the streets on Saturday, blocking roads and holding marches in a nationwide agitation against the controversial farm bills. The protests will intensify they said unless the bills are taken back.
Opposition parties like the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Trinamool have supported the farmers. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised the farm bills as “historic” and attacked the opposition for misleading the farmers. The government claims the bills will help farmers get better prices by allowing them to sell their produce at markets and prices of their choice.
Farmers, however, fear that the loss of the price support system (MSP) and the entry of private players will put them on the backfoot.
Addressing a virtual meeting of BJP leaders today, the PM said small and marginal farmers would benefit most from the reforms. However, despite the Prime Minister’s assurances on MSP many farmers are unconvinced. Massive protests broke out in Punjab and Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and even Karnataka.
In Punjab, a “complete shutdown” was called for by 31 farmers’ groups protesting under the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) banner. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh earlier said the Congress-led state government supports the farmers and no FIRs will be registered for violation of prohibitory orders. Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who resigned as Union Minister last week, joined protests.
The Delhi-Amritsar highway was blocked at several places by farmers. Farmers also gathered in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida leading to police deployment.
Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi who have been active in the criticism of the bills, tweeted again today. “They (the farmers) will be forced to become slaves of trillions through contract farming.” Mr Gandhi said: “… The new agriculture laws will enslave our farmers”, she said.
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