Farmers are holding a protest against the three agricultural reform laws at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since yesterday (22 July) amidst heavy security.
Lt Governor Anil Baijal has given special permission for demonstrations by a maximum of 200 persons until 9 August between 11 am and 5 pm with adherence to Covid protocols.
In light of this, close to midnight, 200 farmers wearing identification badges and carrying flags of their unions travelled to Jantar Mantar from the Singhu border protest site in four buses with a police escort.
With this, the farmer protests have moved to a few metres away from Parliament where currently the monsoon session is underway.
The 'Kisan Sansad'
Yogendra Yadav was also present at the Jantar Mantar protests yesterday. He said, "Farmers have come to Jantar Mantar to prove to the government they aren't fools. The UK parliament is debating our issues, but not our government."
The protesters raised slogans against the government at Jantar Mantar. Meanwhile, in Parliament, both Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MPs as well as Congress MPs, separately, carried out a protests against the farm reform bills, in solidarity with the farmer protesters.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that farmers will run their own kisan sansad (farmers' parliament).
"Members of Parliament (MPs), irrespective of their parties, will be criticised in their constituencies if they don't raise voice for farmers in the House," he said.
When asked about a possibility of violence like that in the 26 January tractor rally, Tikait said, "Parliament is just 150 metres away from Jantar Mantar. We will hold our own Parliament sessions there. What do we have to do with hooliganism? Are we miscreants?"
He further said, "eight months ago, they didn't even consider us farmers. The government takes part in only conditional talks".
Farmer leader Raminder Singh Patiala said, "there will be three sessions of the 'kisan sansad'. "Six members have been selected and will be chosen as speaker and deputy speaker for the three sessions. In the first session, farmer leaders Hannan Mollah and Manjeet Singh were selected for the posts.
The protesters said that the idea behind organising the 'kisan sansad' was to show that their agitation is still alive and tell the Centre that they too know how to run Parliament.
The kisan sansad also had a speaker and deputy speaker who conducted the business. Around 45 speakers made their point. Two resolutions were also passed including one on farmers who died during the protest and another on freedom of the press.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar yesterday urged the protesters again to engage in talks and urged them to leave the path of agitation and come for talks.
"The country has realised that these farm laws are beneficial and are in favour of farmers. We have had discussions about these laws," Tomar said. The laws can be discussed "point-wise" if farmers express the issues, he added.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani told the Rajya Sabha that the government was concerned about women and children at the protest sites.
She said that the Agriculture Ministry, during discussions with the farmers' unions, appealed to them that children and elders, especially women, should be requested to go home keeping in view the severe weather conditions and the Covid pandemic.
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