NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators on Friday extended their support to farmers protesting against the Centre's farm laws and said these "dark laws" must be withdrawn.
They also said that the farmers, mainly from Punjab, reached Delhi after "much struggle", facing teargas shells, water canons and lathicharge by police at various border points along their way to the national capital.
The farmers, who tried to enter the city as part of their 'Delhi Chalo' march, clashed with police at the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border earlier in the day, prompting the force to use teargas to disperse them.
It was later that the farmers were allowed by authorities to enter Delhi and hold peaceful protests at the Nirankari ground in Burari.
On Thursday, farmers faced water canons and broke police barriers at Punjab's border with Haryana to push towards the national capital.
The AAP stands in support of the farmers' demands, the party's Punjab in-charge and Tilak Nagar MLA Jarnail Singh said.
"Till these three dark laws are not rolled back, the farmers will continue their protest, and the AAP stands in support with them," he said.
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, which came into effect from September 27 after President Ram Nath Kovind's assent.
Though the central government has maintained that the laws will bring better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture, farmers have expressed apprehension that the legislations will pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates.
AAP Burari MLA Sanjeev Jha, who along with party volunteers has gone to the Singhu border to receive farmers, earlier in the day met Delhi Police officials and asked them to ensure farmers do not face any hardships during their demonstration at the Nirankari ground in his constituency.
Jha said that he also met farmers' representatives and assured them that he will try his best to ensure farmers do not face any kind of problems.
AAP spokesperson and Rajinder Nagar MLA Raghav Chadha welcomed the farmers and said the party will take care of all necessary arrangements.
"We welcome farmers to Delhi. We will take care of all the farmers and make necessary arrangements for them. Farmers you fearlessly raise your voice, we stand with you," Chadha said.
Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh also extended his support to the farmers.
"The farmers have been allowed to protest in Delhi after so much struggle. They were lathi-charged, teargas was used on them and when all means of the government failed then they were given permission.
"Why has the government pushed the meeting date till December 3, the farmers are struggling now why wait till then," he said.
AAP MLA from Rithala Mohinder Goyal said a kitchen has been started in his constituency to provide food to farmers.
"From tomorrow morning, the Rithala Vidhan Sabha will make arrangements for food for 1 lakh farmer friends," Goyal tweeted, posting pictures of the community kitchen.
AAP members led by MLA Jarnail Singh also staged a protest near the prime minister's residence at Lok Kalyan Marg.
They claimed that they were briefly detained by police.
The party's Chandni Chowk MLA Parlad Singh Sawhney tweeted that the AAP welcomes farmers in Delhi and "we will take full care of the farmers and make all necessary arrangements for them".
"We stand with them in this battle," Sawhney, who is a prominent Sikh leader of the AAP, said.
The Delhi Police has said that after holding discussions with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers were permitted to enter Delhi to hold peaceful protest at the Nirankari Ground in Burari.
"We appeal to all farmers to maintain peace," Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal said.