New Delhi :A ‘tractor march’ for the cause of farmers’ rights organised by the Swaraj Abhiyan group led by AAP rebels Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan was halted on Tuesday after the former leader was arrested from Jantar Mantar.
The protests which were to go on till Independence Day after the protesters were prevented from placing a “plough” in a symbol of protest outside the prime minister’s residence here.
Scores of farmers from across the country had planned to place an installation today in front of the Prime Minister’s residence here as a symbol of protest against the Delhi Race Course, which they want to be converted into a farmers’ memorial.
The protesters, however, were prevented by police from marching any further than Jantar Mantar.
“We don’t believe in politics of deception; we work with honesty… We presented the government with an offer that only 20 women volunteers will go peacefully and place this ‘plough’ there, but police rejected that, so, now we will stand here till we are allowed to move forward,” Yadav told reporters.
“We will stand here holding this plough until the government and police allow us to move towards the Race Course… We hope this small satyagraha will bring some awareness about the situation of farmers,” he said.
Yadav had yesterday claimed that Delhi Police did not let around 200 tractors from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh enter the national capital as they were stopped at Delhi-Gurgaon Kapashera border despite having the requisite permission.
A clash had also broken out last night when police tried to disperse the volunteers, leaving nine persons, including three policemen injured.
Yadav, however, did not comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, Pankaj Pushkar, AAP’s Timarpur MLA said, “If police do not allow us to move with this ‘plough’ towards the race course, we’ll continue our protest till the prime minister’s address to the nation on August 15 and will hold this symbol of farmer’s revolution continuously.”
Earlier, the march—part of the ‘Jai Kisan Andolan’ launched to protest against “anti-farmer” steps such as the Land Acquisition Bill—made its way through various parts of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh after being flagged off at Sangrur on August 1.
The tractor march was supposed to culminate at Race Course today.
“In the last five yrs, three lakh farmers have committed suicide due to faulty policies on MSP and costs. Chemical fertiliser companies are provided subsidy. If same subsidy is given for organic farming, no ‘cancer express’ from Punjab would have been there.
“Plenty of land is available with railways and defence which, after acquisition, is being used for illegal purposes … big corporate houses are provided loan waiver worth crores but a farmer with a loan of less than Rs 10,000 is prosecuted, his belongings auctioned.
“Instead of providing subsidy to companies, traditional seed banks should be created,” said Bhushan.