Centre to hold third round of talks with agitating farmers tomorrow; Delhi borders remain sealed

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New Delhi: Amidst a massive security buildup along the inter-state borders of Punjab and Haryana for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, a third round of talks between farmer unions and the Centre is scheduled to take place in Chandigarh on Thursday at 5 PM.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has been enlisted to aid in finding a resolution to the concerns of farmers. Delhi has been turned into a fortress, with police and security personnel deploying concrete barriers, barbed wires and spike strips to block roads. Singh, himself a farmer leader and former agriculture minister, was approached on Wednesday to resolve the ongoing farmers’ protests. Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda discussed potential solutions with Singh at his residence. Ministers Piyush Goyal and Nityanand Rai were to meet protesting farmers via video conferencing, which has now been rescheduled for Thursday at 5 PM.

Farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal described a recent meeting with officials, expressing uncertainty about future discussions. Despite inconclusive talks, he said that he remains hopeful for a positive outcome. He mentioned the importance of government commitment to address their demands, dismissing the notion of a ‘middle path.’

Bharatiya Kisan Union meeting on February 17

Bharatiya Kisan Union has announced their monthly meeting scheduled for February 17th. The agenda includes discussions on the protests and the prevailing situation. Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson and leader of the union, shared the details on social media, informing that a monthly panchayat is planned for February 17th at Kisan Bhawan in Sisauli, Muzaffarnagar. The gathering will involve farmer leaders from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana, focusing on assessing the current state of affairs in the country and the movement.

Clash between farmers and security personnel

Thousands of farmers marched towards Delhi demanding a guaranteed minimum support price (MSP). On Wednesday, intermittent shelling occurred at the Shambhu border point near Ambala as security personnel engaged with ‘Delhi Chalo’ protesters advocating for minimum support prices for their crops. Tear gas was deployed whenever groups of farmers approached the barricades. Protesters retaliated by pelting stones at the security forces.

A similar standoff continued at the Data Singhwala-Khanauri border in Haryana’s Jind district. However, compared to Tuesday, the situation was relatively less volatile. On Tuesday, farmers tried to move cement barriers with their tractors at Shambhu, tying to move towards Delhi. According to farmer leaders, over 100 protesters sustained injuries on Tuesday from rubber bullets and tear gas shells. Police reported 24 of their personnel being injured due to protesters pelting stones on the first day of the protest.

CBSE issues advisory

CBSE issued an advisory for class 10th and 12th board exams, urging students to reach centres by 10 am due to potential traffic delays, exacerbated by ongoing protests. Residents near protest sites are advised to use metro services. Over 39 lakh students across India and abroad will sit for exams.

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