Farmers from Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have reached Jantar Mantar in large numbers to attend the ‘mahapanchayat’ called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM). “The mahapanchayat is a one-day-long peaceful event where we will reiterate our demands such as a legal guarantee on MSP and cancellation of Electricity Amendment Bill 2022 among others,” said Abhimanyu Singh Kohar, SKM (non-political) member and organiser of the ‘mahapanchayat’.
The SKM has alleged that farmers were stopped at Delhi borders to prevent them from reaching Jantar Mantar, and were taken to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Rakabganj and Moti Bagh police stations only to be released a while later. However, Delhi Police has denied the claim and have stated that a heavy security arrangement has been made for the mahapanchayat. But Kohar has claimed that Delhi Police has still not given permission for the day-long event at Jantar Mantar.
“During the farmers’ movement, the central government had promised to consider all our demands but they did nothing. So here we are again to discuss and raise our demands and chalk out future strategy of the movement,” Kohar said.
In November 2020, thousands of farmers from different states set up protest sites at Delhi’s borders to express dissent against the Centre’s three farm laws. The laws were repealed a year later after unwavering protests from the farmers, and the Centre reassured the farmers that it will consider their demands concerning the minimum selling price (MSP) of crops among others. The protests were suspended in December. However, no appropriate response from the Centre has compelled the farmers to strategise ahead.