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Mummy blogger, 29, and three children were killed in crash months after their home burned down

A blogger and her three children who were killed in a horror car crash had to flee their £320,000 home months earlier in their pyjamas as it burned down in a freak electrical fire.

Zoe Powell, 29, died alongside daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six, after their silver Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford on Monday night.

Mrs Powell’s childhood sweetheart and railway engineer husband Joshua, 30, and their 18-month-old daughter were rescued from the wreckage.

They were today still fighting for their lives at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The driver of the HGV, a 56-year-old man, suffered minor injuries. There have been no arrests over the crash.

It emerged today the devoted family had faced anguish months earlier after their home burned down, destroying many of their possessions.

Mr and Mrs Powell had rushed their four young children out of their home, wearing nothing but their pyjamas during lockdown after a blaze engulfed all the rooms in the house.

Neighbour and fellow young mother, Alice Palmer, said today: ‘It was only a few months ago that their house burned down, everything has gone, all of their memories were taken. It was an electrical fire, essentially they got out in their pyjamas and not much else, but they were planning to move back in.

‘Josh is now potentially going to wake up with his young daughter to care for and no possessions or memories. I just cannot comprehend it, they were so religious, part of the community and the church. I have been crying all morning.’

Neighbour Brenda Newell, who lived opposite the family’s home, said: ‘The fire was during lockdown this year, I was just off to work at the time. It looked like it ripped the whole house apart, but I went to work early that morning at a care home in Thame.

‘I don’t think it was arson, it was an accident I believe, you don’t get any trouble like that down here. I used to say hello to the family in passing, they seemed like a lovely family, the kids were quiet. It’s just one of those things, it’s devastating.’

Talented illustrator Mrs Powell – a regular churchgoer – had managed to save some treasured belongings which they had put in their temporary accomodation.

Their home had been particularly important to them as their most recent child had been born there.

Zoe Powell, 29, with her daughter Phoebe, eight, smile for the camera in a poignant picture

Zoe Powell, 29, with her daughter Phoebe, eight, smile for the camera in a poignant picture

Zoe Powell, who died in the crash, with Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, Amelia, four, and her husband Joshua

Zoe Powell, who died in the crash, with Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, Amelia, four, and her husband Joshua

Emergency services rushed to the scene at 9.50pm on Monday to reports of the crash, which took place near a railway overbridge. Pictured: The child victims

Emergency services rushed to the scene at 9.50pm on Monday to reports of the crash, which took place near a railway overbridge. Pictured: The child victims

The Powell family home was still boarded up today with smoke and fire damage still visible

The Powell family home was still boarded up today with smoke and fire damage still visible

Mrs Powell, who had been married for ten years, had told followers of the art and cards business she ran alongside her parent’s blog : ‘It’s the littlest things that make a house feel somewhere familiar and ‘yours’.

‘I rescued this butterfly from our study (the door was closed and its largely unaffected by fire/ smoke- unlike the rest of the house).’

The couple had also regularly given to charity and their joint Skylark and Hare company had donated money to good causes every year.

Almost a year ago Mrs Powell had said: ‘There is so much brokenness in this world, so many who we know or know of who are struggling in one way or another but it’s a reminder that this isn’t our true home.

‘And while we walk the darkest paths he is always there beside us and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, in our forever home. Psalm 23 is the first long chunk of scripture I memorised and it really has been so pertinent in so many ways and so many times in my life. If you’re walking through something I hope it’s a comfort for you .’

The Rev Dr Jacky Barr, from St Andrew’s Church in Chinnor, where Mrs Powell and her family were regular visitors, said the tragedy was a ‘loss to us all in the area’.

Her husband Joshua, 30, and their 18-month-old daughter were rescued from the wreckage and are today fighting for their lives at John Radcliffe Hospital in the city

Her husband Joshua, 30, and their 18-month-old daughter were rescued from the wreckage and are today fighting for their lives at John Radcliffe Hospital in the city

Pictured are the floral tributes outside the Community Church in High Street Chinnor today

Pictured are the floral tributes outside the Community Church in High Street Chinnor today

Emergency services rushed to the scene at 9.50pm to reports of the crash, which took place near to a railway overbridge to the west of Oxford. Pictured: The scene today

Emergency services rushed to the scene at 9.50pm to reports of the crash, which took place near to a railway overbridge to the west of Oxford. Pictured: The scene today

She said: ‘They used to come to our church. Zoe and her children would come along to one of our after-school sessions.

‘They were just a delightful family. The children were always very engaging.

‘They were just a lovely family, they really were.

‘This has come as such a shock and loss to us all in the area.’

Emergency services rushed to the crash scene at 9.50pm on Monday after the crash, which took place near a railway overbridge.

David Patchett, 36, who lives on a narrow boat close to the crash site, was the first to arrive at the scene.

He described hearing a ‘horrendous noise’ which shook through his home, adding others in the area ‘thought it was a sonic boom’.

He said: ‘The car was in the middle of the road, it wasn’t just front-end damage it looked like it had been crumpled like a can.

‘The emergency services turned up very quickly. It was a horrifying thing to see and my first thoughts were nobody had survived, that’s how bad it was.

‘While I was on the phone to police, the man regained consciousness and that’s when I started screaming down the phone ”get someone here now”.’

Friends had spoken how the Powell family has suffered ‘tragedy after tragedy’ after they were forced to move away from their home in Chinnor following a devastating house fire a few months ago.

A neighbour said: ‘They were a lovely family. They were renting somewhere else in Chinnor in the meantime because there was a house fire, as you can see the whole house is boarded up. It is a devastating shame.’

Blogger Mrs Powell ran a website dedicated to her experience of motherhood and sold a diary, The Mama Book, designed to support other parents.

The mother-of-four said on her The Mama Book website: ‘The mama book is a journal and community that was born out of my own need for a space – a physical place to write and focus and reflect on motherhood.

‘When I created this journal for myself I was feeling overwhelmed by the everyday demands of having three young children.

‘One day in the middle of the craziness of having three three-and-unders underfoot I filled a notebook with all the thoughts about mothering that were filling up my head.

‘Since then I have used it daily, tweaked it and refined it. It is the space I wish I had been able to give myself when my first baby was born, and a space that I am continuing to use through each season of mothering.’

Friends today said the Powell family has suffered 'tragedy after tragedy' after they were forced to move away from their home in Chinnor following a devastating house fire a few months ago. Pictured: Tributes in Chinnor today

Friends today said the Powell family has suffered ‘tragedy after tragedy’ after they were forced to move away from their home in Chinnor following a devastating house fire a few months ago. Pictured: Tributes in Chinnor today

The village where the Powells lived was in deep shock today as news of the tragedy emerged

The village where the Powells lived was in deep shock today as news of the tragedy emerged

Mrs Powell had an English Literature degree and said she had a ‘deep love for books, stationary and florals’.

On June 6, 2018, she wrote a post titled ‘these are the good old days’, which talked about her life and how she treasured it.

It went: ‘I don’t want to miss this beautiful life that’s right here, because I am thinking about what’s next or remembering what it was like when they were at a different stage or longing for certain challenges to move on.

‘These are the good old days. At every stage, photos from a few years ago, a year ago, a few months ago, even, remind me that these days are the best.

‘These are the good old days- it just doesn’t always feel like it the time. Seeing myself, my everyday, through the lens of time passed- gives me perspective and clarity on these days right now.

‘These are the good old days. There are crazy, messy, stressful moments, but they are also scattered through with many beautiful, everyday, wonderful moments.

‘Things that we take for granted, which just are the way they are – like the cot they are lowered into, the pram we push, the car seat we buckle or the shoes we tie – they move on and change and we look back and realise that those everyday things were beautiful.’

The village where the Powells lived was in deep shock today as news of the tragedy emerged.

A cross was erected outside Chinnor Community Church in memory of the family who visited weekly.

It said: ‘The cross has been put up in our garden as a focal point for anyone who would like to remember Zoe, Phoebe, Simeon and Amelia Powell, who lost their lives in a road traffic accident on Monday night.

‘As Christians we believe that death is not the end of the road, but just a bend in the road. The road winds only through those paths through which Christ himself has gone.’

Colourful bouquets were scattered underneath the cross for the Powell family, with loving tributes attached.

Officers today remained at the crash site and the A40 was closed in both directions for a ‘considerable’ period of time while the investigation continued.

Senior investigating officer Sergeant Dominic Mahon, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit based at Bicester, said the crash was an ‘absolute tragedy’.

He said: ‘We are in the very early stages of our investigation into this incredibly tragic incident that has resulted in the deaths of four people from the same family.

‘I would appeal to anybody who was driving in the area at the time of the collision and witnessed what happened to please contact 101, or make a report online, quoting reference number 43200321914.

‘I would also urge anybody who has dash-cam footage of the incident or either of the vehicles just prior to the incident to please not share this publicly, but contact police with this detail.

‘The next of kin of the family have been made aware and are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers.

‘Our officers and colleagues from the other emergency services were dealing with an extremely upsetting scene, and I would like to thank them for the work that they carried out overnight.

‘Our officers remain at the scene and the A40 will remain closed in both directions for a considerable period of time while this investigation continues.’

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Soldier is shot dead during a live fire training exercise in Wales

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soldier from the Welsh Guards has been accidentally shot dead during a live firing exercise in south-west Wales.

Sergeant Gavin Hillier, 35, was shot on Thursday during a night-time training exercise, the Times reported.

Sergeant Hillier, from Pontypool, served in the regiment’s motor transport platoon and was due to go Iraq this summer.

He was killed at the gunnery ranges at the Castlemartin training area in the Pembrokeshire coast national park.

Sergeant Hillier, who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, died doing “the job he loved”, his family said.

Writing on Facebook Sergeant Hillier’s father said: “Absolutely devastated to be writing this post, probably the hardest I’ve ever had to do. At 3.45 this morning I received a phone call that will forever change my life.

“My eldest son was in a fatal accident, in the army, the job he loved. Sleep tight and rest in peace son. I’m so proud of you. Goodnight and God bless. Love your heartbroken dad.”

Dyfed-Powys Police said it is leading and investigation into Sergeant Hillier’s death and officers are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and the Ministry of Defence.

In a statement, the force said: “An investigation has been launched into the death of a soldier at Castlemartin RAC Range following a military exercise.

“Dyfed-Powys Police were called to the site at just before 10.45pm on Thursday, March 4.

“Sadly, a man was pronounced dead shortly after. Our thoughts are with his family, who have been informed of the incident and are being supported by specialist officers.

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Twitter reactions: Team India win Test series against England to book a place in WTC finals

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Team India defeated England by an innings and 25 runs in the fourth and final Test at Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad to capture the series 3-1.

With the sensational victory, the Virat Kohli and Co. have also booked a place in the upcoming inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final. India will meet New Zealand in the WTC final scheduled to take place at Lords Cricket Ground in June 2021.

India bundled out England for 135 after scoring 365 in their first innings. Rishabh Pant was named Player of the Match for his incredible hundred in the first essay that helped India post a comprehensive total on the scoreboard.

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin won the Player of the Series award after he ended the four-match leg with 32 wickets. He picked up eight wickets in the fourth match (three in the first innings and five in the second essay).

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel finished the series with 27 wickets. He bagged another fifer in the match – the fourth of his Test career.

Here is how Twitter reacted:


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100 Days Of BJP’s Arrogance: Congress Slams Government Over Farmers’ Protest

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Centre over the farmers’ protest and said nails were laid at Delhi’s borders for those, whose sons risk their lives at the country’s borders.

Continue Reading

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Woman allegedly shoots Bella Vista officer with pellet gun

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The officer was taken to Mercy Hospital in Bella Vista with a pellet and fragments close to an artery. Surgery is scheduled next week to take the pellet out.

BELLA VISTA, Ark. — The Bella Vista Police responded to a call in reference to shots fired Wednesday (March 3).

According to Lieutenant Bryon Stival with the Bella Vista Police Department, at around 4:30 a.m. Bella Vista Police responded to a ‘shots fired’ call on Witham Lane.

The phone call came from a neighbor who said he saw 51-year-old Laurianne Demers aiming and shooting at another neighbor’s house.

Sgt. Ross Conn, Officer Cummins and Officer King arrived on the scene and parked down the road.

According to a report, Sgt. Conn sent Officer Cummins to the back of the home while Officer King stayed at the front of the house in the tree line, amongst the vehicles in the driveway. 

While approaching the house, Conn could hear loud music and Demers talking and yelling inside the home. 

Conn said facing the home, there was a rock wall, about three feet high, secluding the porch from the rest of the yard and driveway with a gate in the front. Conn unlocked the front gate, opened it and then moved to the left side of the house on the opposite side of the wall, about eight feet away from the front door. 

The report states he knocked on the side paneling near a window and announced that he was a Bella Vista Police Officer and asked Demers to come outside. 

Conn announced a few more times before she opened the front door. When the door opened, Conn again identified himself as a Bella Vista Police Officer.

The report states that Demers walked out of the front door a few feet and had what appeared to be a rifle in her arms pointed towards the ceiling.

Conn had his pistol drawn and pointed at her at this time. 

The report states that Demers said “hello” when she came out, and Conn responded by saying “hello” while having the gun pointed at her. 

At that time Conn said he observed the rifle she was holding, noticed it had a red dot optic on top of it with no chamber to load rounds into the rifle. 

Conn said in the report, “I was 70% certain at that time that the rifle she held was a pellet gun. I told her to put the gun down and she dipped the barrel of the gun down approximately 20 degrees where I could see the interior of the barrel, and I could see the silver lining and small diameter of the barrel that is consistent with a BB or pellet gun. I was confident that she held a pellet gun at this point.”

According to Conn, a moment later Demers uttered “something unintelligible” and began to lower the gun in his direction. He told Demers to not point the gun at him, and she continued to do so.

The report states with fair certainty that the gun was a pellet gun, Conn moved back to get cover and concealment next to the wall of the home. As he was moving, she fired the gun and struck the upper portion of his right forearm and lower wrist area.

The gunshot confirmed that it was a pellet gun.

Conn again pointed his gun at her ordering her to drop the gun. He told Officer King it was a pellet gun and told him to get her. 

Knowing the rifle was a pellet gun and she had just expended her only round, Conn said he was certain that she had no more ammo in the pellet gun. 

Demers allegedly began to walk back into the home and Officer King rushed towards her, got the rifle away from her and placed her under arrest. 

The officers cleared the home to make sure no one was inside. At that time, a crossbow was found a few feet inside the home. The report states the crossbow was loaded with an arrow, locked back ready to fire, with several other arrows affixed to the bows quiver and in the home. 

Two trays of lead .177 diameter pellets filled with hundreds of pellets were also found about 10 feet into the home on a small wire shelf.

Officer King said he recognized Demers because of previous encounters with her and that she had been known to be mentally unstable with psychiatric issues. According to Officer King, Demers has been known to be violent and possess possible weapons in her house.  

According to the report, when King was with Demers, he said he observed a very strong odor of intoxicants coming from her breath. According to King, Demers could hardly walk on her own without escort, had extremely slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes. She allegedly admitted to King that she had been drinking. 

Medics arrived on the scene to look at Conn’s injuries and he had blood coming from the wound on his wrist. He was taken to Mercy Hospital in Bella Vista. 

The pellet was found in the skin, however, the pellet and the fragments are close to an artery, according to the report.

A surgeon will be needed to take the pellet out. The fragments will likely be left as it is too close to the artery to be removed. The surgery is scheduled for some time next week.

Demers was arrested for Battery in the Second Degree (Class D Felony), Terroristic Threatening (Class D Felony) and Disorderly Conduct (Class C Misdemeanor). 

She was taken to the Benton County Jail to be held for a bond hearing.

This investigation is still ongoing.

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Triangulating Math, Mozart and ‘Moby-Dick’

Sarah Hart, the first woman to hold England’s distinguished Gresham professorship of geometry, explores the intersections of music, literature and mathematics.

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Farhan Akhtar starrer Toofan skips theatrical release; to premiere directly on Amazon Prime Video : Bollywood News – Bollywood Hungama

Over the past year we have seen a number of films opting for a direct to OTT release. This sudden change in release patterns was due to the Covid-19 pandemic that sent theatres, public spaces and even most countries into lockdown. Now, as things are easing up, there have been quite a few filmmakers who have been announcing theatrical release dates of their films. But contrary to this, Bollywood Hungama has learnt that the Farhan Akhtar starrer Toofan has now opted for a direct release on the OTT platform Amazon Prime Video.

Farhan Akhtar starrer Toofan skips theatrical release; to premiere directly on Amazon Prime Video

Informing us of the new release patterns for Toofan a well-placed industry source says, “Toofan was initially expected to release in September 2020. However with the lockdown in effect, the film’s release was put on hold indefinitely. Though it comes as a surprise that the director Rakesh Omprakash Mehra and producers opted for a direct to OTT release rather than a conventional theatrical release, it is now certain that Toofan will premiere directly on Amazon Prime Video.”

Ask the source what could be the reason behind a decision like this and he adds, “Currently theatres are just opening up, and it will be a while before they and their business returns to normal. Releasing a film in an uncertain atmosphere like this is detrimental to business. But on the other hand, opting for a direct to OTT release, a filmmaker is assured of a certain sum that will cover his initial expense. Given this situation it is obvious why filmmakers still prefer to release their films on OTT platforms over theatres.”

As for the film, Toofan will see Farhan Akhtar playing the role of a boxer and will also feature Mrunal Thakur and Paresh Rawal. Interestingly, Toofan is the second sports based film that Mehra and Akhtar are collaborating on.

Also Read: Farhan Akhtar’s trainer gives a glimpse into the actor’s training for Toofan

More Pages: Toofan Box Office Collection

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Man beaten to death by 3 over minor dispute in UP’s Muzaffarnagar: Police

A 60-year-old man was beaten to death by three men over a minor dispute in Yusufpur village located within the Bhopa police station limits in this Uttar Pradesh district, police said on Saturday.

The incident occurred on Friday evening, they said, adding that Rishipal (60) was thrashed by Adesh, Rachin and Ashok following a verbal spat over a drain in the village.

Rishipal was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared dead by doctors, the police said.

According to Bhopa Station House Officer (SHO) Deepak Chaturvedi, a case has been registered under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC against the three accused, who are absconding.

The body of the deceased has been sent for post-mortem, the SHO said.

Security has been tightened in the village, the police said.

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Myanmar Asks India to Return Eight Police Who Fled Across Border

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Authorities in Myanmar have asked India to return several police officers who have sought refuge to avoid taking orders from a military junta that seized power in the Southeast Asian country last month, an official in northeast India said on Saturday. Around 30 Myanmar police and their family members came across the border seeking refuge in recent days, as the junta’s suppression of protesters turned increasingly violent, with dozens killed since the Feb. 1 coup.

The senior-most official in Champhai, a district in the Indian state of Mizoram, told Reuters that she had received a letter from her counterpart in Myanmar’s Falam district requesting the return of eight police “in order to uphold friendly relations.”

Deputy Commissioner Maria C.T. Zuali told Reuters on Saturday that she was “waiting for the direction” from the India’s Ministry for Home Affairs in New Delhi.

Although there have been instances recounted on social media of police joining the civil disobedience movement and protests against the junta, this is the first reported case of police fleeing Myanmar.

In the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, Myanmar authorities said they had information on eight police personnel who had crossed into India. The letter listed details for four police, aged between 22 and 25 years, including a female officer.

“In order to uphold friendly relations between the two neighbour countries, you are kindly requested to detain 8 Myanmar police personnel who had arrived to Indian territories and hand-over to Myanmar,” the letter said.

India’s federal home ministry and foreign ministry did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters.

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DDA Housing Scheme 2021: Draw to be conducted on THIS date, check details here

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The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Friday said that it will conduct the draw for allotment of flats under the Housing Scheme 2021 on March 10. 1,350 flats are on offer across Dwarka, Jasola, Manglapuri, Rohini and Vasant Kunj.

“The Delhi Development Authority is going to conduct the draw for allotment of flats under the DDA Housing Scheme 2021 on March 10, from 11.00 am onwards. The draw will be based on a random number-generation system and will be held in the presence of judges and senior officers of the DDA,” it said in a statement.

As the scheme is online, the general public can view the live telecast of the draw on computer terminals or mobile phones through live streaming. The URL of live streaming is https://dda.webcast.ml., it said.

The DDA has launched the scheme online through its newly developed AWAAS software. The AWAAS software allows applicants to complete all the formalities for the application, payment, and possession online.

The DDA has received over 30,000 applications, till February 16, for its Housing Scheme 2021, which was announced in January.

A total of 254 HIG (Higher Income Group) flats are on offer, majority of which are located in Jasola.

Pocket 9B flats in the HIG category are priced from Rs 1.97 crore to Rs 2.14 crore, while 13 flats ranged between Rs 1.43 crore and Rs 1.72 crore are on sale in Vasant Kunj.

As many as 352 MIG (Middle Income Group) flats located in Dwarka Sector 19-B, 348 in Dwarka Sector 16, and four in Vasant Kunj are on sale under the scheme, while 276 EWS flats in Dwarka’s Manglapuri area are on offer.

HIG flats are available in three BHK and two BHK categories, while MIG ones are in the two BHK category.

The DDA Housing scheme 2021 is linked to the credit-linked subsidy scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Housing for All (Urban).

As per DDA, the cost of the unit is to be deposited within 90 days from the date of issue of demand-cum-allotment letter which will be issued online. The digitally signed possession letter will be issued online as well and the allottee will have to upload self-attested copies of the requisite documents.

The last DDA Housing Scheme was launched in March 2019, offering nearly 18,000 flats under four categories — 488 (HIG), 1,555 (MIG), 8,383 (LIG) and 7,496 (EWS).

(With agency inputs)


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Farmers’ agitation enters 100th day, protestors block Western Peripheral Expressway – details here

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The farmers’ agitation against the three Central farm laws entered the 100th day on Saturday. Hundreds of farmers riding trolleys reached the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway from the Singhu border in the morning.

The farmers blocked the 135-km-long Western Peripheral Expressway in Kundli, also known as KMP Expressway. The blockage is slated from 11 am to 4 pm to mark 100 days of protest against the Centre’s farm laws.

Those protesting at Singhu Border are also reaching Kundli while blocking the toll plazas falling on the way. Besides this, farmers from Ghazipur and Tikri borders will block Dasna and Bahadurgarh toll plaza, respectively.

Today marks a crucial point in the protest. “We are completely prepared. Unless and until the government listens to us and meets our demands, we will not move from here,” Rakesh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), was quoted as saying by a news agency.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is leading the protests, has also given a call to free the toll plazas near the highways that are to be blocked and wave black flags from offices and residences across the country.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has also requested the common people to wave black flags at homes and offices to support the movement and protest against the government.

Security arrangements heightened in Palwal district on the 135-km-long Western Peripheral Expressway, also known as Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway due to five-hour blockade called by farmers.

Farmers from Punjab and Haryana pushed towards the national capital with their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march in November 2020. Since the 26th of November, they have been camped at various border points such as Singhu and Tikri.

They were joined a few days later by farmers from Uttar Pradesh who settled at Ghazipur border. 

Several rounds of talks have been held between farmers’ representatives and those of the government, mostly unsuccessfully, to find a way out of the stalemate.

Demands of the agitating farmers

The first and foremost demand of the protesting farmers’ unions is the repeal of three new agri laws.

The second demand of farmers is the guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to ensure procurement of crops at a suitable price.

The Farmers are also demanding to get a written assurance in the form of a Bill for the continuation of MSP and conventional food grain procurement system.

The Farmers are demanding MSP as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission.

The Farmers’ organisations want the APMC or the Mandi System to be protected.

The third demand of farmers is the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, as they feel that they won’t get free electricity due to this.

The fourth demand of farmers is to end the fine and jail sentence for stubble burning.

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