With some key roads blocked for several days now due to their protest against the three new agriculture laws, an umbrella body of farmers Monday apologised with “folded hands” to people for the inconvenience caused to them, but said they were carrying out the demonstration “out of compulsion”.
Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the protests at Delhi border points, distributed handbills in Hindi to commuters on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway near Haryana-Rajasthan borders, where hundreds of farmers have been camping for almost past three weeks now, to convey their apology, and also reiterate their demand for legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP).
“Blocking roads, causing inconvenience to the public is not our aim,” read their pamphlets. “We are sitting here under a compulsion. Yet we apologise with folded hands if our agitation has caused you any inconvenience.”
Farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at Delhi’s Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur border points for over 17 days now, leading to traffic jams on key roads connecting the national capital with Haryana and Punjab.
The Morcha also said that any elderly person, patient or ambulance stuck due to the blocked roads may contact the volunteers, who will immediately provide help.
The Morcha also asserted in the pamphlets that the farmers do not want any “charity”, but a fair price for their crops. They said they wanted to enter Delhi with this demand, and present their view to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We are farmers. People also call us Anndata (food-providers). The prime minister of the country says he has brought us the historic gift of three laws. We say this is not a gift but a punishment.
“Please keep your gift with yourself. If you want to give us a gift, there should be a legal guarantee of fair price of our crops,” read the pamphlets, distributed among people.
The farmers also accused the Centre of “pretending” to be talking to them but not listening to their grievances.
The pamphlet signed off with “I am a farmer”.
Leaders of around 32 farmer unions observed a day-long hunger strike at Delhi’s Singhu border earlier on the day to protest against the Centre’s new farm laws.
The unions claimed that demonstrations were also held at various district headquarters across the country.
The unions have claimed that more people are expected to join the ongoing agitation.
Hundreds of farmers have been camping at the Haryana-Rajasthan border as they were stopped from moving towards the national capital. Several borders of the national capital remained closed on Monday due to the ongoing protest by farmers.
Protesting farmers at Delhi border points have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.
The government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.