Protesting farmers suspend ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest till Friday

Chandigarh, Feb 21 (IANS) Farmers on Wednesday announced to suspend the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march for two days, and will decide their next course of action on Friday evening.

The decision was announced by farmers’ leader Sarwan Singh Pandher while addressing the media.

Farmers have been protesting at the Punjab-Haryana borders for the past few days to press the Centre into accepting their demands on minimum support price (MSP) for crops and other issues.

A protesting farmer, identified as Jugraj Singh, reportedly died and several were injured as Haryana Police lobbed tear gas shells at the Shambhu and Khanauri border in Punjab on Wednesday afternoon. Haryana Police have, however, denied any casualties.

Amid the huge build-up of farmers at the borders of Haryana as they got ready to march to the national capital, Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda earlier in the day said the Centre was ready to discuss all issues.

“After the fourth round, the government is ready to discuss all the issues like MSP demand, crop diversification, stubble issue, FIR in the fifth round.

“I again invite the farmer leaders for discussion. It is important for us to maintain peace,” he wrote on X.

The farm union leaders had on Monday rejected the Centre’s proposal of buying pulses, maize, and cotton at the MSP by the government agencies for five years, saying it was not in farmers’ interest.

The announcement was made by farmer leaders Pandher and Jagjit Singh Dallewal after holding a meeting.

A panel of three Union ministers — Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda and Nityanand Rai — on Sunday gave the proposal to the farmers during the fourth round of talks in Chandigarh.

Appealing for holding more talks to resolve the issue amicably, an optimistic Agriculture Minister told the media: “We want to do good, and several opinions can be given for doing so, as we always welcome good opinions… But to find a way on how that opinion will be fruitful, the only way is conversation. Through conversation, a solution will surely come out.”

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