Farmers’ Protest Live Updates: SC to hear pleas on farm laws, ongoing farmers’ agitation at Delhi borders

Farmers' Protest Live News Updates: While hearing the pleas on the issue of farmers' protest, the top court had on December 17 said that the agitation should be allowed to continue "without impediment" and this court will not "interfere" with it as the right to protest is a fundamental right.

Farmers’ Protest Live Updates: With talks between the Centre and farmer unions on the new agriculture laws failing to make any headway even after the eighth round of talks, the Supreme Court will on Monday hear a clutch of petitions challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders. On Saturday, the Punjab government had said it has finalised petitions to challenge the newly enacted laws.

Today’s hearing assumes significance as the Centre and the farmer leaders are scheduled to hold their next meeting on January 15. During the last hearing, the top court, which had observed that there is no improvement on the ground regarding farmers’ protests, was told by the Centre that “healthy discussions” were going on between the government and the unions over all the issues and there was a good chance that both sides may come to a conclusion in the near future.

While hearing the pleas on the issue of farmers’ protest, the top court had on December 17 said that the agitation should be allowed to continue “without impediment” and this court will not “interfere” with it as the right to protest is a fundamental right.

Meanwhile, the Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA approached the Supreme Court, seeking to be heard in the challenge to the farm laws. In a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian – this is the bench hearing the challenge to the laws and petitions against protests by farmers — CIFA chief advisor P Chengal Reddy sought directions to the Government of India “to hold consultations with other farmer associations in other parts of the country before changing any provisions of the Acts”.

Meanwhile, forced to scrap his visit to Karnal Sunday after farm protesters took over the venue, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar accused Opposition parties and state BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chadhuni of inciting people to disrupt law and order, and insisted that the Centre will not repeal its new agriculture laws.

Farmers’ Protest Live Updates: SC to hear pleas on farm laws, ongoing farmers’ agitation at Delhi borders today; Khattar says govt won’t repeal farm laws. Follow all the latest updates here

As part of preparations for a large protest on Republic Day during which farmers would bring their tractors into the capital, farm unions are carrying out a mass recruitment drive in villages across Punjab. Over the last two days, thousands have signed up.

Farmer unions had earlier announced they would march to the capital on January 26 if their demands to repeal the farm laws are not met. Rajinder Singh, vice-president, Kirti Kisan Union Punjab, said: “We began the drive last Friday and it has received a good response. This is being done so that our movement is well organised . We will note down details of all volunteers who will travel to Singhu ahead of Republic Day. We are expecting lakhs of people from Punjab to turn up…”

FORCED TO scrap his visit to Karnal Sunday after farm protesters took over the venue, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar accused Opposition parties and state BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chadhuni of inciting people to disrupt law and order, and insisted that the Centre will not repeal its new agriculture laws.

Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh after his visit to the venue of a BJP “kisan panchayat” in Karnal’s Kaimla village was cancelled, Khattar said: “The Government is not going to repeal these laws. It is certain. Even if state governments are to be exempted, there will only be amendments. A resolution can be reached after discussion on certain points. But I don’t think the Government is going to withdraw these laws. I am hopeful that discussions are going in the right direction, that is why the next date of meeting has been fixed.”

Welcome to our Farmers’ protest LIVE blog. The Supreme Court will on Monday hear a clutch of petitions challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders. On Saturday, the Punjab government had said it has finalised petitions to challenge the newly enacted laws. Follow to get all the latest updates here!

Police look on as protesting farmers vandalise the stage at the kisan mahapanchayat in Karnal. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh after his visit to the venue of a BJP “kisan panchayat” in Karnal’s Kaimla village was cancelled, Khattar said: “The Government is not going to repeal these laws. It is certain. Even if state governments are to be exempted, there will only be amendments. A resolution can be reached after discussion on certain points. But I don’t think the Government is going to withdraw these laws. I am hopeful that discussions are going in the right direction, that is why the next date of meeting has been fixed.”

Asked about the laws, he said: “Whenever a new policy is made, it always takes time to see its benefits. Had we waited for some time, we would have gone to the Union Government and said that there were discrepancies in these laws. I believe we should wait for at least one year to see its benefits. Even today, these farm legislations are not binding on farmers. Mandis are there, MSP is there and shall always be there. Only an alternative has been given to the farmers. If they get MSP out of the mandi, why would farmers object to that? It will benefit them.”

Referring to the scheduled visit to Karnal, his home constituency, the Chief Minister said that he “had to make some announcements of Rs 100-crore development projects at the village”.

Besides, the state’s BJP and ally JJP leaders, including ministers and MPs, have mostly been confined to offices and homes and avoiding non-party public appearances. Several videos have surfaced on social media of senior leaders from both parties being abused on visits to villages where the protests have gained ground.

Haryana police’s intelligence wing, meanwhile, advised BJP and ally JJP ministers to not venture out in public without adequate security cover. MLAs from both parties were also advised to convey their tour programmes to district administrations in advance to ensure adequate security.

Ahead of R-Day protest, drive to recruit volunteers

As part of preparations for a large protest on Republic Day during which farmers would bring their tractors into the capital, farm unions are carrying out a mass recruitment drive in villages across Punjab. Over the last two days, thousands have signed up.

Farmer unions had earlier announced they would march to the capital on January 26 if their demands to repeal the farm laws are not met. Rajinder Singh, vice-president, Kirti Kisan Union Punjab, said: “We began the drive last Friday and it has received a good response. This is being done so that our movement is well organised . We will note down details of all volunteers who will travel to Singhu ahead of Republic Day. We are expecting lakhs of people from Punjab to turn up…”

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