Student, youth activists gather at Mandi House for march in support of protesting farmers

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) Activists of several student, youth and women organisations assembled at Mandi House here on Wednesday for a march in support of the farmers staging protests at the national capital borders demanding repeal of the Centre's new farm laws.

The activists of AISA, SFI, AISF, DSF, NSUI, CYSS, AIPWA and AICCTU, carrying posters, banners and placards, gathered at Mandi House for the 'citizens' march for farmers' till Jantar Mantar.

According to police, a call was made by some student organisations, including AISA and SFI, to carry out the march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar at around 12 noon in support of the farmers movement and for release of those arrested in connection with the agitation.

Some trade unions and Congress Mahila Morcha also claimed to have joined the march, they said.

Their request for permission to carry out the march was rejected as per Supreme Court directions and prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144, police said.

Adequate arrangements were made to avert any untoward situation. Around 150 people assembled at Mandi House and indulged in sloganeering, singing and delivering speeches, they said.

The protestors later dispersed on their own, police said, adding that no force was used and no one was detained in connection with the incident.

Roads near Mandi House were closed and traffic movement was affected. However, the traffic in the evening became normal.

Thousands of farmers have been camping at several Delhi border points, demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws -- the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act -- and legal guarantee of minimum support price for their crops.

Enacted in September 2020, the government has presented these laws as major farm reforms aimed at increasing farmers' income, but the protesting farmers have raised concerns that these legislations would weaken the minimum support price (MSP) and 'mandi' (wholesale market) systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporations.

The government has maintained that these apprehensions are misplaced and has ruled out a repeal of the laws.