Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday condemned the arrest of farmers from the state in Bhopal when they were on their way to New Delhi to take part in a protest and urged the Madhya Pradesh government to release them immediately.

According to farmers' body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), around 100 farmers from Karnataka, who were travelling in a train to the national capital to participate in the protest on February 13, were stopped at Bhopal by the state police.

Taking to social media platform 'X', Siddaramaiah said the arrest of Hubballi farmers by the Madhya Pradesh government, as they were heading to New Delhi to take part in the protest, is highly condemnable. ''I demand that the Madhya Pradesh government immediately release all the farmers from our state who have been arrested and allow them to participate in the protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi tomorrow.

Although it is the government of Madhya Pradesh that has made the arrests, it is clear that the criminal brain behind this act is the central BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,'' he alleged in the post. The Chief Minister further said that by arresting and intimidating them, the farmers' struggle cannot be suppressed.

''Such repression might only lead more farmers to take to the streets, but the struggle of the sons and daughters of the soil will not cease. If the Central government truly cares about peace and order, it should immediately meet the demands of the farmers and resolve the issue, rather than repressing and brutalizing them to silence,'' he said. Terming the BJP as anti-farmer, Siddaramaiah further alleged that whether it's at the Centre or in the states, whenever the BJP comes to power, history bears witness that their first act of aggression is against farmers. ''The first time the BJP came to power in Karnataka, farmers asking for fertilizers were ruthlessly shot down by the government led by B S Yediyurappa. Several farmers died due to the violence inflicted on protesting farmers in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh by Narendra Modi's government at the Centre,'' he alleged in his post.

''Looking at the current actions of the Narendra Modi government, it seems their main aim is to intimidate the farmers into submission,'' he charged. Earlier in the day, addressing a press conference in Delhi, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) South India Convenor Shanthakumar said he was also travelling with the group in the train and ''the police stopped us at the Bhopal station, and some of our members were injured.'' Shanthakumar somehow managed to reach the national capital.

Several farmer associations, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, have called for a march on February 13 to demand a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price for their produce, one of the conditions they had set when they agreed to withdraw their agitation in 2021.

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Washington, Mar 4: US Vice President Kamala Harris has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for at least the next six weeks, as she called on the Israeli government to "do more" to increase the flow of aid in the war-ravaged enclave.

Harris made the ceasefire call on Sunday during a speech in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the annual remembrance of the landmark civil rights movement.

"The threat Hamas poses to the people of Israel must be eliminated, and given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table," Harris, 59, said.

"This will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid. This would allow us to build something more enduring to ensure Israel is more secure and to respect the right of the Palestinian people to dignity, freedom, and self-determination," the Indian-American leader said amidst applause from the audience.

"Hamas claims it wants a ceasefire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal. Let's get a ceasefire. Let's reunite the hostages with their families. And let's provide immediate relief to the people of Gaza," Harris, a Democrat, said.

Meanwhile, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal immediately welcomed the call.

"The Vice President has called for an immediate ceasefire and urgent aid into Gaza. This is the first time this language has been used by the administration. It is important. Now let's back it up with a policy shift," said the 58-year-old Democratic lawmaker.

Addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Harris said, "What we are seeing every day in Gaza is devastating. We have seen reports of families eating leaves or animal feed, women giving birth to malnourished babies with little or no medical care, and children dying from malnutrition and dehydration."

Asserting that too many innocent Palestinians have been killed, she said, "Just a few days ago, we saw hungry, desperate people approach aid trucks, simply trying to secure food for their families after weeks of nearly no aid reaching Northern Gaza."

"And they were met with gunfire and chaos. Our hearts break for the victims of that horrific tragedy and for all the innocent people in Gaza who are suffering from what is clearly a humanitarian catastrophe," Harris said amidst applause from the audience.

"People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane. And our common humanity compels us to act. As President Joe Biden said on Friday, the United States is committed to urgently get more lifesaving assistance to innocent Palestinians in need," she said.

"Yesterday, the Department of Defence carried out its first airdrop of humanitarian assistance, and the United States will continue these airdrops. And we will work on a new route by sea to deliver aid," she said.

"And the Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses. They must open new border crossings. They must not impose any unnecessary restrictions on the delivery of aid. They must ensure humanitarian personnel, sites, and convoys are not targeted. And they must work to restore basic services and promote order in Gaza so more food, water, and fuel can reach those in need," Harris said.

At the same time, Harris said that Israel has a right to defend itself. "And President Joe Biden and I are unwavering in our commitment to Israel's security," she said.

A day earlier, the Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop into Gaza between 3:00 and 5:00 pm to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict.

Various C-130 aircraft dropped 38,000 meals along the Gaza coastline, allowing civilian access to critical assistance.

"And those locations were chosen specifically as areas where we thought people would be able to best access the aid. There were 66 total bundles, 22 on each aircraft, which were dropped into Gaza to help alleviate the intense hunger and desperate situation there," a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call.