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1 Killed, Several Injured As Protesting Farmers Clash With Police In Northern Indian

21.02.2024 22:57

Following killing of protesting farmer, unions postpone their march to New Delhi for 2 days Haryana police use tear gas shells to disperse farmers from near state borders as they attempted to cross barricades, reports media Farmers pressing government for several demands, including minimum...

Protesting farmers on Wednesday clashed with police in a northern Indian state when they tried to stop their march to the national capital of New Delhi, to press the government to guarantee a minimum support price for all crops, killing one and injuring several others, including police.

Following the killing of a protesting farmer, unions postponed their march to New Delhi for two days.

Earlier in the morning, farmers, mostly from the northern Punjab state, resumed their march to the Indian capital after union leaders and the government failed to reach an agreement.

The Haryana police used tear gas shells to disperse farmers from near the state borders as they attempted to cross the barricades, local news agency Press Trust of India reported.

A protester was killed at the Khanauri border crossing between Haryana and Punjab, and several other farmers were injured in police action.

"One of our farmers was martyred today. He sustained a head injury. Several others were injured in police action... we have halted the protests for two days," farm leader Sarwan Singh Pandher told Anadolu.

Haryana police stated on X that protesters surrounded the "police from all sides" at the Data Singh-Khanauri border, and 12 police officers were seriously injured in the attack.

The police, however, denied that any farmer has been killed during clashes.

Dozens of farmers' unions from Punjab state, considered the country's food basket, called for a "Delhi Chalo," or "March to Delhi," to press the federal government on their demands, which included a law ensuring a minimum support price for all crops.

On Feb. 13, farmers in hundreds of tractors and trolleys attempted to enter Haryana state, which borders New Delhi, and clashed with Haryana police when they were stopped at the Shambu area.

Later, the farmers' leaders announced the suspension of their march and expressed their willingness to meet with officials from the central government in New Delhi. As the talks were inconclusive, they decided to resume the march on Wednesday.

Farmers are pressing the government for several demands, including a minimum support price law to protect them from price shocks in the event of a bad crop year, as well as a full debit waiver, according to farm unions.

"All of the demands are important, but the most important is the MSP (minimum support price) guarantee," said Sukhdev Singh Kokri, a farm leader who led a month-long protest in 2021 that forced the government to repeal three farm laws.

Government offer rejected

Earlier this week, farmers' leaders rejected the government's proposal for five-year contracts and guaranteed support prices for crops such as pulses, corn, and cotton, saying they wanted a legally guaranteed minimum support price for all crops across the country.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda on Wednesday invited protesting farmers for another round of talks.

"After the fourth round, the government is ready to discuss all the issues like MSP demand, crop diversification, stubble issue, FIR in the fifth round. I again invite the farmer leaders for discussion. It is important for us to maintain peace," he wrote on X.

Farmer leaders say they will hold internal discussions about the government's latest talks offer. -

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