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Farmers’ mahapanchayat in Delhi on Monday; security beefed up

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Sunday said lakhs of farmers from across the country are on their way to Delhi to participate in the ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ that will be held at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on March 20.

IMAGE: Samyukta Kisan Morcha leaders Darshan Pal (left), and Hannan Mollah addressing a press conference in New Delhi, March 19, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

The ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ will be held to press for a legal guarantee on the minimum support price, the SKM, an umbrella body of farmers’ union, had said last month.

 

Lakhs of farmers from various states and union territories are headed to Delhi to attend the ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Delhi on March 20, the SKM said in a statement.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital, SKM leader Darshan Pal said, “The Centre must fulfil the assurances it gave to us in writing on December 9, 2021 and also take effective steps to mitigate the ever-increasing crisis faced by farmers.”

The SKM spearheaded an over a year-long agitation against the Centre’s now-repealed farm laws. It suspended the movement in December 2021 following a government assurance to consider the farmers’ pending demands, including the withdrawal of cases lodged against farmers during the agitation and a legal guarantee for MSP.

The SKM has also urged the centre to dissolve the committee on MSP that was constituted by the Centre, alleging that it is contrary to the demands of the farmers.

Farmers’ demands also include pension, debt waiver, compensation for those who died during the farmers’ stir and withdrawal of the Electricity Bill.

“The Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022 referred to the JPC should be withdrawn. The Centre had given a written assurance that the bill will be introduced in Parliament only after discussion with the SKM but despite this, it introduced the bill,” the SKM statement said.

It also reiterated the demand for free power for agricultural purposes and 300 units for rural households.

Ahead of the farmers’ meet, the Delhi police will deploy over 2,000 security personnel at Ramlila Maidan where thousands of farmers will gather for Monday’s ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’, officials said.

Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the event goes smoothly, the police said on Sunday.

“We have made elaborate security arrangements for the Kisan Mahapanchayat. We will ensure the safety and security of people…

“We have deployed more than 2,000 security personnel to ensure that the event goes peacefully and law and order is maintained,” a senior police official said.

The police personnel will be deployed for crowd management and to ensure that no unauthorised person gains entry and disrupts law and order, he added.

According to an advisory by the Delhi traffic police, around 15,000-20,000 people are likely to participate in the Mahapanchayat. They are expected to start arriving at Ramlila Maidan from Sunday night.

The public and motorists have been advised to avoid roads around the Ramlila Maidan, especially JLN Marg from Delhi Gate to Ajmeri Gate Chowk, a traffic police official said.

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