Rejecting Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s offer of moving the ongoing protests to a designated site in Burari on the outskirts of the national capital, a majority of farmer unions have decided to stay put outside Delhi borders. The farmers, who have launched a campaign against the Centre’s newly enacted farm laws and seek assurance on the MSP and the mandi system, want to hold the protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
While the Home Minister made an appeal to all unions via the media on Friday evening, he personally called three farmer leaders – Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), Jagjit Singh Dallewal, president of BKU ( Sidhupur) and Balbir Singh Rajewal, President of BKU (Rajewal).
Ugrahan told the Indian Express, “The Union Home Minister called me at around 12.20 pm on Friday. He appealed to us not to seal the borders of Delhi and instead go to Nirankari Bhawan, Burari. We do understand that blocking the borders is causing inconvenience to masses, but we are not ready to move to Burari, but the Union Home Minister should allow us to protest at Jantar Mantar where we wanted to protest earlier. But Delhi police had rejected the application of the All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC). Jantar Mantar is a place where everyone lodges their protest and why can’t we farmers’ do the same?”
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He said Surjit Kumar Jayani, chairman of the BJP’s 8-member panel formed to hold talk with Punjab farmers, had proposed that a 5-member team of ‘our union can talk with Amit Shah in person.’ “But I refused it straight away as we are not the only union who is protesting for this cause,” he added.
Ugrahan said that different farmer unions are protesting at different sites. “Unless everyone is called for a meeting, we will not pursue any meeting. Moreover, I categorically told Jayani that the centre needs to tell us about their proposal.. Then only all unions will discuss and decide accordingly,” he said.
Buta Singh Burjgill, President of BKU (Dakaunda) and part of a group of 30 farmer organisations said, “Al the 30 farmer unions are planning to meet at Singhu border, where I am sitting as of now to decide further program. But it does not seem to be possible to meet at 10 am as a few are stuck in Sonipat, someone is at Tikri. So far, we have decided not to go to Burari and we will continue to sit outside Delhi.
Jagmohan Singh Patiala, working committee member of AIKSCC said,”We are sitting at the borders of Delhi till further decision of our 30 farmer unions.
Satnam Singh Pannu, President of KMSC said,” Our jatha of 100 tractor-trolleys has reached Singhu border and we are going to stay put here only. We are not going to Burari at any cost.
Jyani, who was a cabinet minister in the SAD-BJP government in Punjab, was called to Delhi Friday morning. He held a series of meetings with the Union Home Minister. He had told the Indian Express that the gathering is huge and hence Burari was suggested to them where they can have arrangement of bathroom-toilets, water etc as well. He had said, “I am hopeful that some solution can come out soon. I fully support farmers as in a democracy, they can have their view point and they have the right to express it as well in a peaceful manner.”