22-Apr-2024  Srinagar booked.net

India

Shambu Border: Pellets Blind Farmers Amid Tear Gas

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Ambala: As the farmer's protest enters its fourth consecutive day, the situation at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu Border intensified with reports of teargas fired as farmers approached barricades. 
 
Earlier, Haryana Police fired teargas shells and rubber bullets, injuring at least 100 farmers, with at least three farmers losing their vision due to pellet injuries.
 
The latest escalation follows the inconclusive third round of negotiations held between Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, farmer union leaders, and Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Munda, and Nityanand Rai. 
 
Speaking to the media late last night, Minister Munda characterized the discussions as "very positive,” confirming that the next round of talks is scheduled for Sunday.
 
However, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher underscored that tangible action from the government is imperative, stating, "We will call it a ‘decision’ only if they will practically implement everything that they have said to us in the meeting."
 
Another farm leader, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, underlined the need to hold off on further protests to allow negotiations to progress. "When the meetings have started, if we move forward (towards Delhi) then how will meetings happen?" Dallewal questioned, affirming the protest's peaceful continuation.
 
Aside from organisations from Punjab and Haryana, unions from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are also participating in the march as they demand government intervention to help the ailing agriculture sector, which is central to the country’s food security.
 
Meanwhile, the Haryana government extended the suspension of internet services until February 17, citing the need to "prevent any disturbance of peace and public order."
 
 
Farmers' Demands Include:
 
Guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops through legislation.
 
Strengthening the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
 
Reinstituting the old pension scheme for wider coverage.
 
Compensation for the farmers who died during the 2020-2021 protests.
 
Ensuring pension and social security for all workers (formal & informal).
 
Providing free 300 units of power for both farming and domestic use.
 
Implementing crop insurance for better risk management.
 
Increasing existing pensions to ₹10,000 per month.
 
Dismissal of a federal minister whose son was accused of running his car over farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district in October 2021.
 
The protests also seek to ensure that the promises made by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2021 are acted on.
 
Farmers Protest 2020-2021 
 
During the earlier protests, farmers protested against laws passed by the BJP government that allowed farmers to sell produce directly to bulk buyers and make contract farming easier.
 
While Modi said the laws were aimed at liberating the farmers, they prompted the resignation of Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the food processing minister, who called the legislation “anti-farmer”. Modi was forced to withdraw the three farm laws in 2021.
 
In 2022, Modi government promised it would set up a panel of farmers and state officials to find ways to ensure support prices for all farm produce. Farmers have accused the BJP government of lagging behind on that promise.