Updated: November 19, 2021 10:25:51 pm
Punjab’s farmer leaders on Friday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of repealing the three farm laws but demanded from the government to enact a law to guarantee the minimum support price (MSP) for crops. Celebrations erupted at many places in Punjab and Haryana with people distributing sweets and dancing to the beats of ‘dhol’.
Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said it was a “matter of happiness and satisfaction” that an announcement had been made for the withdrawal of the three farm laws by the PM. “It was because of the support given to the ‘Kisan morcha’ from people across the world, the Centre had to admit its mistake,” said Rajewal who is also a member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
“We thank PM Narendra Modi for this announcement but dharnas will be lifted from the borders once the laws are actually repealed and we are told in detail about the plan for implementing MSP in the country. Finally, the PM realised that imposing farm laws on us was a mistake,” Rajewal said, adding that “Der aaye durust aaye”.
Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala, general secretary of Kirti Kisan Union, said, “It is a victory of people’s movement but we still need to stay alert and watch every action of the BJP government. Farmers should continue marching towards the borders for the November 26 programme to observe a year of dharna and later we will march towards Parliament on November 29. We want to know how MSP will be implemented and till then we will continue with the protests.”
While summing up, he said, “Josh de naal hosh vi rakho.”
Buta Singh Burjgill, president of BKU Dakaunda, said, “This is the biggest victory for farmers, but we will wait till it is repealed. The struggle started in Punjab but now it has spread in the entire country. Going by the sentiments of the country, BJP had take this decision.”
Shingara Singh Mann, senior vice-president BKU Ugrahan, said, that while the announcement is good but they don’t want to trust BJP until the laws are repealed. “Only when the laws are repealed, we will understand that the BJP has realised the power of the farmers. Laws are made for the people and when they don’t like it, you have to repeal it. However, the government spoke on taking back the farm laws, but nothing on MSP till now. Hence, we are still in doubt and we will continue with our protests. Once the laws are repealed, we will take out a victory rally and return,” he said.
Other farm union leaders too stressed the need to have clarity on MSP. While Narian Dutt of Inqlabi Morcha Punjab said that the decision to take back farm laws indicates that they are afraid of our movement, Jagmohan Singh Dakaunda, general secretary of BKU Dakaunda, said that the actual victory will be when the three laws are repealed.
Dutt said, “They did everything to divide and deter us but we stayed together. They even called us terrorists.”
Dakaunda added that they first want a law on MSP for a guarantee on payment to farmers for their produce.
Prem Singh Gehlot, president of All India Kisan Mahasabha (Haryana), said that it is a victory of the masses who didn’t give up before the stubborn government.
Baldev Singh Nehalgarh, general secretary of All India Kisan Mahasabha (Punjab), said, “We thank the PM for this decision but it came with a price as over 700 farmers died in this protest. We want compensation for them and also space at Tikri and Singhu for making a memorial.”
Meanwhile, people distributed sweets and danced to the beats of ‘dhol’ (drum) at many places in Punjab and Haryana after the announcement. A group of people who had been holding a protest at Mohali, for the past several months in support of farmers, were ecstatic. “Jit saadi pakki si par elaan hona baaki si (our victory was sure but the announcement was awaited),” said an elderly man.
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