April 18, 2021 11:29:06 pm
A host of eminent personalities of the country and the region belonging to bureaucracy, academia, intelligentsia and broader civil society have issued an appeal to the Centre and the leadership of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) to resume dialogue to end the logjam over the three farm laws.
The appeal, signed by dozens of people associated with various fields and holding senior positions or having retired from high appointments, have appealed to the government to invite the farmers for talks and also appealed to the SKM to positively respond to the government’s invitation as and when it is extended.
The statement says that the long-drawn peaceful movement by the farmers against the three agri laws, enacted amid the pandemic, is the “manifestation of the persistent and deep-rooted agrarian crisis and farmers’ distress in the country”. “In the understanding of the farmers, and rightly so, implementation of these three laws would not only accentuate their crisis but would also pose a serious threat to their livelihood. Pan India, the movement is getting amazing support and cooperation from the farmers, agricultural labourers, youth and civil society organisations,” the statement reads.
It goes on to say that Indians settled abroad and members of civil society across the globe are also lending support to this movement.
“Globally, India is facing a serious setback to its cherished values of democratic and human rights. Already India has been declared as one of the world’s least free democracies in the world as is reflected in the Freedom in the World 2020 Report and its ranking has slipped from 71st to the 83rd position,” says the statement.
The signatories add that the “adamant attitude” of the Union Government is causing “unprecedented psychological and physical suffering” to lakhs of agitating farmers consisting of women, children, old people and youth, who have been camping in the open on the outskirts of Delhi for over 140 days and are facing numerous problems.
The statement highlights that the families of farmers at home are “undergoing a traumatic situation and are living under an atmosphere of fear, anxiety and uncertainty”. “Already more than 300 persons have died, several hundred have suffered injuries and detentions in the ongoing struggle and there does not seem to be an amicable solution insight,” it says.
It adds that camping in temporary shelters at the Delhi borders in extreme winter and scorching heat of the summer reflects the long patience and suffering of the farmers, labourers, women and youth in this protest.
“Against this backdrop we earnestly appeal to the Government of India to be fair to the farmers who are providing food security to the nation. The government is urged to immediately invite the farmers’ leaders and find an amicable solution in order to end the stalemate. We also appeal to the leadership of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha that they should respond positively to the government’s invite as and when such an invitation is extended,” the statement says.
Among those who have signed the statement are TKA Nair, former chief secretary of Punjab, M S Malik, former DGP Haryana, Som Pal Shastry, former Union minister of state for agriculture, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice Chancellor Punjab Agriculture University, R S Cheema, Senior Advocate Supreme Court, Dr Sucha Singh Gill, former Director General Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Dr R S Ghumman, Professor of Eminence Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar and senior Professor of Economics CRRID and Devinder Sharma, veteran journalist and food policy analyst.
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