To press for their demands, including debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce, thousands of farmers from across the country started to march towards Delhi on Thursday for a two-day protest rally.
Farmers, from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states, will march on four different routes in the national capital, starting at three major railway stations Anand Vihar, Nizamuddin and Bijwasan and at Sabzi Mandi, All India Kisan Sabha leaders said.
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All the marchers will pour in at Ramlila Ground in the heart of the city by evening. Farmers from Delhi, Punjab and Haryana started to seep in by 10:30 in the morning.
Kamla, a functionary of the All India Kisan Sabha’s Delhi unit, said farmers have also arrived at Majnu Ka Tila, from where they will start marching in groups to Ramlila Maidan.
“We hope by 3 pm, farmers from across the country will arrive at Ramlila Ground,” said AIKS.
The two-day rally will be “one of the largest congregations of farmers” in Delhi, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) claimed on Wednesday.
The AIKSCC, which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, said a cultural programme would be held at Ramlila Ground on Thursday, the first day of the protest, where prominent singers and poets from rural India would perform.
Police said they have made elaborate arrangements for the rally on Friday, when the farmers will begin their march from Ramlila Ground to Parliament Street. Support for farmers has started pouring in with activists taking to twitter to ask the general public to join the march.
In a tweet, political activist Yogendra Yadav said “Women farmers greet us this morning from Brijwasan as they are all set to embark on #KisanMuktiMarch. Join us even if you are not a farmer. Join the hands that toil to feed us. Jai Kisan!”
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan also tweeted in solidarity with farmers. “Over 3L farmers have committed suicide in India in last 15 years, due to successive governments betraying them. Tomorrow 1 lakh farmers from across the country are marching to Delhi to ask for fair prices & freedom from debt. Let’s stand in solidarity with them,” Mr. Bhushan said.