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For talks to resume, new farm front seeks amendments in agri laws, silent on repeal

The protesting farmer bodies will then be ready to talk to the government without demanding the repeal of the laws, RKM convenor VM Singh said.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
August 8, 2021 4:49:57 am
Farmers protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha/File)

A newly-formed farmers’ outfit — the Rashtriya Kisan Morcha – has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make four amendments in the three agri laws, which should then be passed during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. The protesting farmer bodies will then be ready to talk to the government without demanding the repeal of the laws, RKM convenor VM Singh said.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of more than 30 farm unions, which is spearheading the farmers’ protest at Delhi borders for last over eight months, questioned Singh’s contribution to the agitation and said they will not budge from their two demands – repeal of the farm laws and a new legislation guaranteeing the MSP.

There have been 11 rounds of discussions between the unions and the Centre – the last being on January 22 – before the dialogue process broke down.

The RKM, which claims to be a front of over 100 farmers’ outfits, in a letter to Modi written on August 5 said if the government wants to solve the issue and is willing to talk to the farmers then the four amendments to the three laws should be made.

As per the letter, an amendment should be made so that “the company who will work on farmer’s land cannot take any loan on the given land”. “This will remove the fear from the minds of farmers that their land will be mortgaged or he will have to pay out the loan if the company runs away,” VM said said in the letter.

“Another amendment should be made so that farmers should approach civil court first in case they have any issue with the company,” the letter said, adding an amendment should ensure that no purchase is made below the minimum support price. Also, farmers must get immediate payment for their produce instead of three working days as mentioned in the law.

VM Singh also demanded that Rs 10 lakh each should be given to the families of those who died during the ongoing agitation and criminal cases registered against farmers be withdrawn.

The letter was sent a day after the RKM held a meeting in New Delhi to discuss ways to end the impasse between the protesting farmers and the government and claimed that “more than 100 farmers’ organisations from 20 states” attended it. Those who attended the meeting are not part of the ongoing protests at Delhi borders, and the RKM claimed that all of them had been protesting against farm laws in their states.

Reached for reaction, Jagmohan Singh Patiala, who is AIKSCC working member and general secretary of BKU Dakaunda, which is one of the unions protesting at Delhi borders, said “VM Singh is no longer associated with the AIKSCC. We are not aware of any meetings that his so called RKM has held in the past. It is good if they have raised the issue of MSP. However, we have been demanding the repeal of the three laws and we stick to it firmly”.

VM Singh earlier used to head All India Kisan Struggle Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) as its convenor. Before farmers began their march to Delhi in November last year, he was the first to write to Delhi Police seeking permission for a rally at Ramlila Ground, which was denied He then, in a video message, had urged the farmers not to march to Delhi and had cited the rising Covid cases. However, this didn’t go down well by the farmers and their unions. Later, the AIKSCC executive members abolished the post of convenor, effectively removing VM Singh. After the farmers reached Delhi borders, VM Singh too started a parallel dharna at Ghazipur border. He withdrew the dharna after the January 26 violence during a farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi.

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