Taking a further stringent posture against the Centre’s farm laws, farmer unions on Sunday announced a 24-hour relay hunger strike starting from Monday, and appealed to citizens to skip a meal on 23 December on the occasion of ‘Kisan Diwas’.
While addressing a press conference at the Singhu border, Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav said that the hunger strike will take place in groups of 11 and appealed to unions in other parts of the country to also do so according to their strength. “In order to take the movement forward, farmers will be on a 24-hour relay hunger strike at all the sites. We appeal to farmers protesting across the country to take part. Here, a group of 11 people will sit for a day, followed by another 11. Others protest sites can do so according to their strength,” Yadav said.
Rakesh Tikait, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, further appealed to farmers to skip a meal on the Kisan Diwas, birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh as a gesture of gratitude in remembrance of their ‘annadatta’ and the movement.
Tikait said that union workers would reach out to allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ask them why they are supporting the farm laws. “We will reach out to the BJP and its allies and ask them if they are supporting the farm laws. If they are, we will ask them why and accordingly decide the future course of action,” he said.
He further questioned the alleged raids being conducted by the Enforcement Directorate on the participants and supporters of the farmers’ protest. “If the ED is raiding the singers who are attending the farmers’ protest, then what is stopping them from raiding businessmen and corrupt officials?” he told ANI.
Leaders of several farmers’ unions also appealed to people in the country to bang utensils to drown out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat on December 27 to show their support for the movement.
The farmer leader further said that they had also decided to make the Haryana toll plaza free from 25 December to 27 December.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of Delhi since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.