Farmers burn copies of Union agriculture minister's letter

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Noida (UP), Dec 19 (PTI) Farmers camping at Delhi-Noida border in protests against the three recent farm laws of the Centre on Saturday burnt copies of an open letter of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's written to them in a bid to pacify them.

A group of transgenders also joined farmers at their protest site at Chilla border during the day and entertained them with songs and dance, with some of them also taking digs at the government over its alleged adamant attitude over farm laws.

Scores of protestors from various districts of western Uttar Pradesh are camping at the Chilla border here and at a nearby Dalit Prerna Sthal since the first week of December.

As members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), who are at Chilla border, burnt copies of the minister's letter, Yogesh Pratap Singh, the UP unit chief of farmers' group, said, “The protest will not be over until the three laws are repealed.” The traffic movement on the Noida-Delhi Link Road via Chilla border, meanwhile, remained disrupted as only one carriageway was open and the other closed for commuters due to the agitation.

“The Noida to Delhi lane is closed but the other lane (Delhi to Noida) is open. Other routes between Delhi and Noida – the DND and Kalindi Kunj – are open for commuters,” a Noida Traffic Police official said.

On Saturday, a group of farmers from Eta district also joined the BKU (Bhanu)-led demonstration at the Chilla border, while scores of BKU (Lok Shakti) members stayed put at the Dalit Prerna Sthal.

A group of farmers from adjoining Bulandshahr district had attempted to move to Delhi via Greater Noida and Noida to join the larger protest sites at Delhi-Haryana border but were stopped by the police, said officials.

“These protestors had gathered at the Luharli Toll Plaza in Dadri area where they were pacified by police officials and convinced into returning home. They agreed to return after submitting a memorandum of their demands to officers,” a police spokesperson said.

Normal traffic was restored soon at the toll plaza, the official added.

The protestors who have gathered at the Noida border want to proceed to Delhi to join the larger stir sites at Delhi-Haryana border.

Thousands of farmers are currently staying put at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

They 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.

However, the government has been maintaining that the new laws will bring better opportunities for farmers and usher in new technologies in agriculture. PTI KIS RAX RAX