New Delhi: Denied permission by police to march to Parliament, around 35,000 farmers from across the country converged near Parliament Street Police station in New Delhi on Friday, where their leaders addressed the protesters.
The national secretary of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Asish Mittal, said farmers from 24 states have also joined the protest to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.
The farmers, who have been camping at the Ramlila ground in the national capital since Thursday, began their march to Parliament Street around 10.30 am amid heavy policy deployment.
They were stopped near Parliament Street police station, after which they assembled there.
Over 3,500 police personnel have been deployed on the route of the march.
According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.
Farmers from different parts of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh converged at the Ramlila ground on Thursday.
Banded under the AIKSCC, which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many farmers arrived in the city on Thursday, on trains, buses and other modes of transport.
Five Gurdwaras in the Delhi region have extended their help to the farmers. Also students from various universities turned out in large numbers to lend support to the farmers.
The protest also saw participation of a number of women farmers who travelled from various parts of the country. Volunteers, including doctors, lawyers, professors and artists, all came out in large numbers to help the farmers.
Delhi: Farmers from all across the nation hold protest for the second day over their demands of debt relief, better MSP for crops, among others; latest #visuals from near Barakhamba Road. pic.twitter.com/Po5aGAhuSk— ANI (@ANI) November 30, 2018
Around 600-700 volunteers of a solidarity group 'Nation For Farmers' marched with the protesters from the four assembly points.
Gaining support from the Left and a number of farmer groups, they marched to Ramlila Maidan from five different locations.
Here are the big points to this story:
- Farmers converged in the national capital on Thursday from different corners of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, to participate in the two-day Kisan March.
- Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many of the farmers came in trains and other packed into buses and other modes of transport.
- The historic Ramlila Maidan, known for hosting big political events over the years, turned into a sea of red as farmers wearing caps and carrying flags gathered there.
- Some farmers resonated with slogans like 'Ayodhya nahi, karz maafi chahiye' (‘We don't need Ayodhya but debt waiver’) earlier on Thursday.
- Battling Delhi’s cold, a group of farmers were heard raising chants of 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'.
- With an edge of anger in his voice, 50-year-old Kartar Singh, sugarcane farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Sambal district, said: "We have not come here to sleep. Farmers have converged in Delhi to remind the Union government that the party leading it had made promises of waiving off loans in its manifesto. And, it’s been four and a half years since they came to power."
- On Thursday night, farmers, both men and women, from all parts of India tried to sleep in a chilly night inside tents, while many sat huddled together, discussing the next strategy and family issues.
- The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Thursday said it supports the farmers’ agitation and urged the entire country to stand up in solidarity with the community as the government has been "insensitive" to their demands.
- About 1,200 farmers from Tamil Nadu reached the national capital in the early hours of Thursday carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide, National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association leader P Ayyakannu claimed. The group from Tamil Nadu threatened to march naked if they are not allowed to go to Parliament on Friday.
- Delhi traffic police has issued an advisory.