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Farmers' Protest Updates: US Senators asks Secretary of State John Kerry to take up Farmers’ issue

Today marks the 114th day of the 'Delhi Chalo' farmers' rally at New Delhi's border crossings. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting along the Delhi-Punjab border. On November 26, 2020, the protest began.

Prity Barman
John Kerry
John Kerry

Today marks the 114th day of the 'Delhi Chalo' farmers' rally at New Delhi's border crossings. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting along the Delhi-Punjab border. The protest began on November 26, 2020.

The reasons for farmers' protests:  

Farmers want the new farm reform laws repealed completely, as well as want guarantees that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system will be restored. Many rounds of meetings between the Center and the leaders of the farmer's unions have ended in a stalemate. Farmers opposing the new laws are afraid that the MSP system and corporate farming will be eliminated. 

09.33 a.m: Haryana passes a bill to compensate victims of violent protests; Congress ties the move to the farmers' uprising. 

The Haryana Assembly yesterday passed a Bill that will authorize authorities to seek money from violent demonstrators for any property damage, amid protests by Congress members. 

As Speaker Gian Chand Gupta was finishing the procedure of passing the Bill by voice vote, several members of Congress hurried to the Well of the House to insist that it be removed. The MLAs chanted, "Bill vapas lo, vapas lo." Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister, and Anil Vij, the Home Minister, both dismissed the Congress' argument that the Bill's introduction was related to the farmers' unrest, which has been going on for months. 

07.55 a.m: If the government recommends it, I'm willing to mediate between the Centre and farmer unions: KC Tyagi of JD(U) 

If the government makes such a proposal, senior Janata Dal (United) chief KC Tyagi said yesterday that he is ready to serve as a mediator between the Centre and farmer unions opposing the three recent agriculture reform laws. Tyagi's comments came after Naresh Tikait, a leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, proposed Union Minister Rajnath Singh and Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik as mediators, in addition to the JD(U) leader. 

07.25 a.m: US Senators ask Secretary of State Blinken to bring up farmers issue, saying that Indians will decide how to continue with farm reform laws. 

Two top Democratic senators have urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to lift the question of treatment of nonviolent farmer demonstrators and journalists, stating that it is for the people and the government of India to decide the way forward on the country's latest farm reform laws. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged the Biden administration to consult with the Indian government over its treatment of farmers protesting the passage of new agricultural reform laws in a letter to Blinken sent yesterday. 'India has been a long-term strategic partner with strong ties to the United States because of our many shared values and our large and admired Indian American community. We write with deep concern about the Indian government's response to farmer protests in light of these shared values and strong relations,' Menendez and Schumer wrote in a joint letter to Blinken. 

The changes since the beginning of the year: 

The Supreme Court had already placed a temporary halt to the enforcement of these controversial laws in the hopes of putting an end to the protests. Farm union officials have opposed the Centre's request to postpone the laws' enforcement for 18 months. 

On January 26, when some farmers deviated from a pre-planned path for their Republic Day tractor rally and clashed with police, the demonstration became violent. Any demonstrators climbed the ramparts of the Red Castle. The subsequent clashes resulted in the injuries of both protesters and police officers. 

Farmers' unions have called for a "Bharat Bandh" on March 26 to mark the end of their four-month-long demonstrations. 

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