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Farmers postpone 'Delhi Chalo' march till February 29, to decide next course of action later

Farmers protest: "We will decide next course of action on February 29", said Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher told while addressing a press conference at Khanauri.

Sheenu Sharma Edited By: Sheenu Sharma @20sheenu New Delhi Updated on: February 23, 2024 22:20 IST
Farmers protest, Farmers postpone Delhi Chalo march, Farmers protest march till February 29, farmers
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Farmers postpone 'Delhi Chalo' march till February 29.

Farmers protest: The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the farmers' protest, has decided to pause the 'Delhi Chalo; march till February 29 (Thursday). Addressing the media, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said that the Dilli Chalo march has been paused till February 29.

"We will decide the next course of action on February 29", said Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher while addressing a press conference at Khanauri.

Police use tear gas to prevent farmers from reaching Khanauri border

As the deadlock between the protesting farmers and the central government persists, the Haryana Police on Friday used tear gas to disperse farmers heading towards Khanauri on Punjab's border with the state. The protesting farmers also asserted that cremation of Shubhkaran Singh, who died on Wednesday, will not take place till the Punjab government registers a case against those responsible for it. Amid the standoff, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced compensation for Singh who died at the Khanauri border.

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court alleging violation of the rights of the peacefully protesting farmers by the Centre and some states. The plea claimed that the Centre and some states have issued "threats" and fortified the national capital's borders, after several farmer unions called protests.

Haryana withdraws NSA order

Meanwhile, the Haryana Police said it is withdrawing its earlier decision to invoke provisions of the National Security Act (NSA) against some farmer leaders who are a part of the ongoing farmers' agitation. In a related development, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced waiver of interest and penalty on certain crop loans and did not hike taxes as he presented a Rs 1.89-lakh crore budget for the 2024-25 financial year.

Who is behind the farmers protest 2024?

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) are spearheading the 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the government to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops and a farm loan waiver.

The Punjab farmers are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, no hike in electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases and justice for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

A few protesters threw stones at police personnel when farmers from Kheri Chopta village near Hisar in Haryana were stopped from going to Khanauri where farmers, mostly from Punjab, have been camping since last week after their march was halted by the security forces. A clash between police personnel and farmers ensued, forcing Haryana security personnel to fire tear gas shells.

Some police personnel and farmers were injured in the clash, officials said, adding some farmers have been detained. Bharatiya Kisan Union's Hisar unit president Golu Data alleged that besides using tear gas, the police also resorted to lathi-charge and turned on a water cannon against the farmers. He criticised the state government for the police action.

Farmers are now holding a sit-in to protest against the police action, Data said. A heavy police force has been deployed to maintain law and order in the area. 

Punjab CM announces compensation

The Punjab chief minister announced a compensation of Rs 1 crore and a government job for the sister of Singh who died at the Khanauri border point. Singh (21), a native of Bathinda, was killed and 12 police personnel were injured in clashes at Khanauri border point on the Punjab-Haryana border on Wednesday. The incident took place when some protesting farmers were trying to head towards the barricades.

"The family of Shubhkaran Singh, who got martyred during the farmer's movement on the Khanauri border, will be given financial assistance of Rs 1 crore by the Punjab government and a government job to his younger sister. Due legal action will be taken against culprits," Mann said in a post in Punjabi.

Martyr status for Shubhkaran Singh

Farmer leaders demanded a martyr status for Singh, who hailed from Ballo village in Bathinda. Hours after Mann's announcement, the farmer leaders participating in the agitation said the cremation of Singh will not take place till the Punjab government registers a case against those responsible for it. On the other side, the Haryana Police said it is withdrawing its earlier decision to invoke provisions of the NSA against some farmer leaders who are part of the ongoing farmers' agitation.

This comes a day after Ambala police issued a statement saying it was implementing the process of detaining office bearers of the protesting farmer outfits under section 2(3) of the National Security Act, 1980, to maintain law and order and prevent criminal activities. However, Inspector General of Police (Ambala Range) Sibash Kabiraj said, "It is to clarify to all concerned that the matter of invoking provisions of the National Security Act on few farm union leaders of Ambala district has been reconsidered and it has been decided that the same will not be invoked."

He also appealed to the protesting farmers and their leaders to maintain peace and cooperate with authorities in maintaining law and order. Meanwhile, Khattar, who announced the budget proposals at a time when farmers have intensified their protests at Punjab-Haryana borders, asserted that his government has taken many steps for the welfare of the farmers and that MSP is being given for 14 crops. The government has also decided to double the financial compensation to Rs 1 crore for families of soldiers who die in the line of duty, he said.

ALSO READ: OPINION | FARMERS AGITATION: END THIS STALEMATE SOON

ALSO READ: Haryana announces interest, penalty waiver on crop loans amid farmers protest

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