New Delhi: Intensifying their agitation against the Centre’s new agri laws, farmers began their day-long ‘relay’ hunger strike on a chilly Monday morning at all sites of protest on Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Protesting farmers will participate in the hunger strike in batches and the first has 11 members, according to farmer leaders.
Thousands of agriculturists, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the laws for the last over four weeks at various border points of Delhi and demanding that the legislations be repealed.
Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav had on Sunday said, “Farmers will begin a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all sites of protest against the new agri laws. It will be started by a team of 11 members at protests sites here, including the Singhu border.”
He also urged “everyone at all protest sites across the nation to participate in the same”.
Several roads have been shut due to the agitation and the Delhi Traffic Police has been updating commuters on open and closed routes.
Taking to Twitter on Monday, the traffic police said that the Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, and Mangesh borders are closed. It has advised commuters to take alternative routes through the Lampur, Safiabad Saboli and Singhu School Toll Tax borders.
Police said as traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and the GTK Road, people are suggested to avoid Outer Ring Road, the GTK Road and National Highway (NH) 44.
Those travelling to Haryana can go through the Jharoda (only single carriageway), Daurala, Kapashera, Badusarai, Rajokri NH-8, Bijwasan-Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera borders.
“Tikri, Dhansa borders are closed for any traffic movement. Jhatikara border is open only for two wheelers and pedestrian movement,” the traffic police tweeted.
“Chilla border one carriageway from Delhi to Noida is open for traffic, however, other carriageway from Noida to Delhi is closed,” it added.
Farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The three farm laws, enacted in September, have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.