Economy, Featured

Farmers to start march towards Parliament from Ramlila Maidan

Thousands of farmers from across the country, who have been camping at the Ramlila ground here since Thursday, will march to Parliament Street on Friday to press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce.

Over 3,500 police personnel have deployed as the farmers are likely to begin their march from the Ramlila Maidan to Parliament at 10.30 am.

According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.

As many as 850 police personnel, up to the rank of sub-inspectors, have been deployed in the Central district. They will be augmented by the presence of 12 police companies, including two of women, comprising 75-80 personnel each, a police official said.

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.

“We will start marching toward Parliament around 10.30 am. We had discussion with police Thursday night so that the event goes on smoothly,” the National Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Atul Anjaan, said.

Traffic was disrupted in many parts of the city on Thursday as the farmers marched to the Ramlila ground in the heart of the city on four different routes — Anand Vihar, Nizamuddin and Bijwasan railway stations and at Sabzi Mandi.

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 farmers kept pouring into the city.

They came in trains, buses and other modes of transport.

Kamla, a functionary of the All India Kisan Sabha’s Delhi unit, said farmers from nearby areas converged at Majnu Ka Tila on the outskirts of Delhi from where they marched in groups to Ramlila Maidan on Thursday.

About 1,200 members of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturalists Association reached the national capital in the early hours of Thursday carrying skulls of two of their colleagues who had committed suicide, their leader P Ayyakannu claimed.

The group from Tamil Nadu had threatened to march naked if they are not allowed to go to Parliament on Friday. The group had last year staged protests at Jantar Mantar with the skulls of eight farmers who killed themselves owing to losses.

The AIKSCC has claimed that the two-day rally will be one of the largest congregations of farmers in Delhi.

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. Around 600-700 volunteers of a solidarity group Nation For Farmers marched with the protesters from the four assembly points.

The AIKSCC was formed under the aegis of All India Kisan Sabha and other Left-affiliated farmers’ bodies in June 2017, following protests by farmers in states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for debt relief and remunerative prices.

(PTI)

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