New Delhi: Just when it seemed like the worst was over, protesting farmers at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border said that their stir would continue because the government has only agreed to seven of their eleven demands.
Thousands of farmers under Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) gathered at the border on Tuesday in protests which soon turned ugly after they were denied entry into the national capital. The police took action after farmers reportedly broke the barricades erected to stop them. Their demands range from farm loan waiver, implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, removing ban on the usage of tractors above 10 years and clearing out pending payments of sugarcane purchase to increased price of sugar supplied and minimum support prices.
While Union Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh to address the issue, the ground situation remains tense. "We had a discussion on 11 points. Government agreed on seven points but has not agreed on four points yet. They said they will have to think about those in a further meeting after which they will tell us as it is a financial matter," said Yudhvir Singh, BKU spokesperson. "Government didn't clear its stand on the main issue of the farmers - C2+50. That is why the farmers are unsatisfied. It didn't clear its stand even on the other main issue of loan waiver."
Earlier in the day, over 25,000 personnel of Delhi Police - apart from paramilitary forces - gathered to stop the agitating farmers from entering Delhi. Tear gas and water canons were made use of when ground situation broke into a frenzy. Farmers - many from areas like Gonda, Basti and Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh as well as the sugarcane belt in the western part of the state - even alleged that cops had resorted to lathi charge.
A political battle too has erupted with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal extending his support to the farmers. Congress president Rahul Gandhi too lashed out at BJP and accused the party of beating up farmers on the auspicious occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.