Protesting farmers on Sunday beat “thalis” at a few places in Punjab and Haryana during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Mann Ki Baat” radio programme; as part of their protest against the Centre’s new agricultural laws.
While addressing a press conference on December 20 at Delhi’s Singhu border, protesting farmer leaders had asked people protesting; against the laws to beat utensils during the programme, the same way; the prime minister had asked them in March to beat “thalis”.
Modi has asked people to express gratitude towards; those at the forefront of combating the corona virus and extending essential services; by giving a five-minute standing ovation by clapping, beating plates, or ringing bells.
“The common people too are with farmers in their agitation; against the farm laws,” said a protestor in Amritsar as he beat a “thali” with a spoon and raised the “Jai Kisan” slogan. At many places, farmers, who were joined by people from other sections of society, raised slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre.
Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni went to the Makrauli toll plaza in Rohtak district along with a group of farmers to protest against the legislation. They beat “thalis” with shoes during the prime minister’s monthly radio broadcast.
During the protest, Chaduni said, “We are here to oppose Modi’s ‘Man Ki Baat”. We are registering this protest because the prime minister; only says what he has to without listening to the voice of the people.”
He said feedback has been received from protesting farmers; that toll collection on highways in Haryana should be halted till the Centre accepts the demands; of the agitating farmers. Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the laws since the last week of November; at various border points of Delhi and demanding that the legislations be repealed.
The BKU leader said, “We went to many toll barriers and farmers; who are protesting there said no toll should be charged from people till the government accepts our demands.”
Intensifying their agitation against the Centre’s new agricultural laws, the protesting farmers on December 20 had also announced that they will halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27.
In the press conference, the BKU leader Jagjeet Singh Dalewala said, “From December 25 to 27 all toll booths in Haryana will not be allowed by us to collect toll, we will halt them from doing so. On December 27, our prime minister will say his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and we want to appeal to the people; to beat ‘thalis’ during his address, the same way the PM; has asked the country to bang utensils for corona virus.”
However, the protesting framers gave expressed apprehensions; that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price; and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate. The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.