New Delhi, Oct 3 : The standoff between the agitating farmers and police at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border ended last night after the protesters reached an agreement with the government and they were allowed to march to the Kisan Ghat, the memorial of farmer leader and former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), which spearheaded the 10-day “Kisan Kranti Yatra” from Haridwar to Delhi, said it has managed to convey its demands to the government and the agitation would be resumed if the demands are not accepted.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait told IANS that the objective of the march was to make the government aware of the problems being faced by the farmers which has been achieved.
“We went to the Kisan Ghat in the night as the march was supposed to culminate there. We have succeeded in putting our views and demands before the government. Now, it is up to the government to take decisions,” said Tikait, adding agitations will be held again if the government fails to fulfil their demands.
“Farmers came and raised their voice. The work was done…it was a big march,” he said.
On the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, the Central government allowed the protesting farmers to enter Delhi, ending the prolonged standoff between the police personnel and protesting farmers.
The protesters had reached the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border on Monday. The protest turned violent on Tuesday as they tried to break barricades and run them over with tractors to enter the national capital, forcing police to use water cannons and tear gas.
Led by BKU president Naresh Tikait, over 400 tractors carrying thousands of farmers reached Kisan Ghat at around 2 a.m. Tikait declared it as the “victory of farmers” and said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has failed in its “motives”.
“The farmers remained unfazed despite all the hardships. We have been marching for 12 days now, farmers are also tired. We will continue to demand our rights but for now we are ending the march,” Naresh Tikait told IANS at Kisan Ghat.
At around 5.30 a.m, the farmers began dispersing from the Kisan Ghat.
They also hailed Chaudhary Charan Singh, widely regarded as a hero of the country’s peasants, and applauded the coming together of farmers.
The farmers had a charter of 15 demands including immediate loan waiver and fair prices for crops.
Their other demands include revoking of the ban on 10-year-old tractors in the National Capital Region (NCR), reduction in electricity tariff, implementation of the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission on remunerative prices and payment of sugarcane arrears.
With representatives of farmers holding discussions with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the government on Tuesday agreed to take “effective measures” to fulfil seven of their 15 demands.
The government assurances included filing a review petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for revoking the ban on 10-year-old diesel vehicles (tractors), bringing farm-related products under 5 per cent bracket of Goods and Services Tax (GST), extension of MSP providing 50 per cent profit over the production cost to all notified Rabi crops and boosting the procurement system.
The farmers said their prime demand for increasing the price of crops has been agreed to by the government.
“A formal announcement in this regard will be made within six days by the government,” said Rakesh Tikait, shortly before the farmers called off their march.