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Farmers’ Protest: 4th Round of Talks Likely on Feb 18, SKM to Intensify Stir for Demands

The ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march by SKM-NP entered fifth day, with protesting farmers camping on various border sites.
The ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march by SKM-NP entered fifth day, with protesting farmers camping on various border sites.

Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: The farmers’ collective, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which gave the call for a nationwide ‘Grameen Bandh’ on Friday (February 16), said it would intensify its protest for  their demands that include implementation of the MS Swaminathan Commission formula, legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP), one-time loan waivers among others. The bandh was backed by central trade unions.

SKM, which has backed the demands of Punjab farmers, led by SKM-NP and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, is the collective that spearheaded the year-long farmers movement that forced the government to withdraw the three “anti-farmer, pro-corporate” laws.

Read Also: 20 Crore People Participated in Rural Bandh and Sectoral Strikes, Say SKM, CTUs

In a statement, SKM said it had “decided to immediately intensify agitation and it shall be done with multiple calls for massive actions in coordination with workers and all other sections of the people.”

Meanwhile, ‘Delhi Chalo’ protests by farmers at the Punjab-Haryana border, called by SKM-NP and KMM,  continued on the fifth day, with media reports saying that the fourth round of talks with the government was expected to be held on Sunday, February 18. The farmers were prevented from entering Delhi for a protest that has been leading to intermittent skirmishes and police action, such as use of  drone-fired tear gassing, lahti-charge, and pellet firing. As a result, the farmers have been camping at the border points since Tuesday, February 13.

At Shambhu border, there were reports, backed by videos on social media of several farmers and journalists being injured.

 There were also reports of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), which is part of the SKM, coming out in support of the protesting Punjab farmers. It said on Friday that it would hold a solidarity protest in front of a BJP leader in Barnala, Punjab.

Calling for an early end to the protest, industry body PHDCCI also apprehended that lingering of the farmers’ protest would hit trade and industry which could result in “economic losses of over Rs 500 crore daily” in the three states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

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