The Delhi police have given permission to the farmers protesting the central government’s new agricultural laws to hold a tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day. Setting aside the initial resistance from authorities for the demonstration, the Delhi Police on Saturday said they have allowed the farmers take out the tractor parade in Delhi.
The announcement came a day after the farmers rejected an offer by the government to defer the three reforms for one-and-half years, warning they would step up protests as they seek a repeal of the laws and a guarantee on minimum crop prices.
According to the farm leaders hundreds of thousands of farmers from neighbouring states including Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh plan to drive tractors through New Delhi on January 26, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join a parade of the armed forces.
Former officials express concern
Meanwhile some former government officials had expressed concern that the protests could turn violent, the leaders said they would remain peaceful and urged the police to grant permission for the convoy to enter the capital.
However, the 11th round of talks between government officials led by Agricultural minister Narendra Singh Tomar and forty farm union leaders earlier on Friday was inconclusive. Farmers stuck to their demands while the government urged them to consider its offer to hold discussions to address their concerns after deferring the laws.
“There is a sort of deadlock as the government repeated the offer of deferring the laws, which is not acceptable,” Darshan Pal, one of the union leaders told reporters after the meeting.
PM Modi’s government has said that the laws introduced in September will unshackle farmers from the obligation of selling produce only at regulated wholesale markets. But the farmers say the bills are designed to benefit private buyers.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of national capital for nearly two months, blocking some of the roads connecting New Delhi with neighbouring states. Supporting the farmers, the main opposition Congress party said on Friday that the government had shown “shocking insensitivity and arrogance” towards farmers and urged it to accept their demands.