Three more protesting farmers die at Delhi border

NAGPUR: Hundreds of farmers from various regions of Maharashtra, joined by students and people from various walks of life, on Sunday night left for Delhi from Nagpur to join cultivators who have been protesting at the borders of the national capital for over a month seeking the repeal of three agri laws, a Kisan Sabha leader said.

He said widows of those farmers who had committed suicide over farm debt and related issues from east Maharashtra and Marathwada regions, have also joined this “Chalo Delhi” vehicle march.

Earlier in the day, students, youngsters and people from various walks of life hailing from Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Nashik, Aurangabad, Ahmed Nagar and other districts gathered in Nagpur under the aegis of ‘Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha’.

They took out a march in afternoon and a meeting was held at Sanvidhan chowk in evening.

“These farmers and others have left for Delhi in 40-odd vehicles, including buses and four-wheelers,” Nagpur district secretary of Kisan Sabha, Arun Wankar, told PTI.

He said about 800 members of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha are also going to Delhi to join the protesting farmers.

“We want to support the farmers who are protesting in a peaceful manner against the three anti-farmer laws which were passed in a dictatorial manner by the Central government,” Wankar said.

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Savita Jadhav (26), who came from Parbhani district in Marathwada region along with 35 other women, said her farmer husband and her father committed suicides in 2010 and 2017, respectively, over their failure to repay loans taken for farming.

“I am going to Delhi to support the cause of farmers. I request the government to rehabilitate the families of those farmers who have committed suicide over loans. I also urge the government to scrap the farm laws in the interest of agriculturists,” she said.

Braving the cold, thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at various borders of the national capital for more than a month against the three laws.

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The government has presented these laws as major agriculture sector reforms aimed at helping farmers and increasing their income, but the protesting unions fear that the new legislations will leave them at the mercy of big corporates by weakening the MSP and mandi systems.

After the sixth round of formal negotiations on Wednesday, the government and farm unions reached some common ground to resolve protesting farmers’ concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues.