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Day after talks, farmers dig their heels in: Call special Parliament session or will intensify stir

Farmer unions leading the stir also called for a nationwide protest on December 5 against what they called corporatisation of farming that the new laws will enable.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | New Delhi | Updated: December 3, 2020 11:58:24 am
Protests can spread, warns Sharad Pawar; Akalis get support of Shiv SenaA delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal met Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray Sunday to secure Shiv Sena’s support for the ongoing farmers’ agitation. (File photo)

On day seven of their protest at the Singhu border, farmers demanded a special Parliament session to repeal the three farmer laws promulgated by the Centre. Farmer unions leading the stir also called for a nationwide protest on December 5 against what they called corporatisation of farming that the new laws will enable. The call comes a day after 35 farmer union leaders held talks with the Centre but failed to arrive at a breakthrough.

“The government is attempting to divide the unions and their unity, solidarity. We will not form smaller committees as they asked. This is a large movement and we will take everyone along. We have unanimously decided that we will give them a point by point rebuttal of the clauses in the farm bills. It will be about 7-8 pages. We want that a special session be called in the Parliament to repeal it. And will give every reasoning for our demands,” Dr Darshan Pal, president of the Krantikari Kisan Union, said.

The unions have called for a nationwide agitation by farmers and supporters, and asked them to take to the streets to burn effigies of the government. Farmers also stated that many sportspersons and defence personnel will return their medals and awards if there’s no breakthrough. They said they also plan to block more roads inside Delhi in the days to come.

These demands will form the basis of their talks with the Centre on Thursday — the delegation is preparing a detailed response to specific clauses in the Acts, which will be submitted to the Ministry. Farmers have maintained that they will not move away from the borders and the protests will continue under the banner of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha. Farmers also reiterated their demand for a guaranteed minimum support price (MSP).

“Governments of other countries are expressing solidarity with the farmers. We have to warn the government that if these laws are not repealed soon, we might take steps that will invite police action on us. We are ready to face that too,” said Gurnam Singh, president of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha.

The meeting between different farm unions on Wednesday was also attended by those from Rajasthan, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. During their press conference, farmer unions said Naresh Tikait’s Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) from Western UP will be part of the deliberations and is now officially a part of the protest.

A week into the protest, the number of farmers has increased considerably at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border. Tents for protesters to rest have come up on the Haryana side, close to the Delhi Police barricades, along with dozens of langars.

“More and more people will join since the government is not ready to yield. They have not been responding to what we want and our only way is to let the blockade remain. Senior leaders are having conversations with the government and we hope the Centre realises the magnitude of this protest,” said Jagjit Singh, a farmer from Mohali.

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