Ahead of the second round of talks with the Centre, the protesting farmers Wednesday demanded that the government call a special session of the Parliament to repeal the contentious farm laws even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured that all their objections would be addressed.
The fear relating to the weakening of APMC mandis and minimum support price (MSP) regime are among the main factors behind the ongoing protests, as part of which thousands of farmers, primarily from Punjab, have gathered at the capital’s doorstep. Emphasising that their demand for repeal of the new farm laws was “non-negotiable”, the farmers also threatened to block other roads leading to Delhi if their demands are not met.
Addressing a press conference, president of Krantikari Kisan Union Darshan Pal accused the Centre of dividing farmer organisations. “Centre should call a special session of Parliament to repeal the three farm laws,” PTI quoted Singh as saying. Follow Farmers’ protest LIVE Updates
He also called for burning of effigies throughout the country to protest against the Modi government and corporate houses on December 5. Gurnam Singh Chadoni, another farmer leader, said they would take further steps in the coming days to press their demand if the Centre does not withdraw the new laws.
The leaders of around 32 farmer organisations also held a meeting that was also attended by Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait at the Singhu border. “We held talks with Tikait Ji and he told us that he is with us. We are together in this struggle,” ANI quoted Darshan Pal as saying.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held deliberations with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday on ways to dispel concerns over the new farm laws.
Tomar and Goyal, along with Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, had met representatives of over 35 farmer organisations on Tuesday. Though the over three-hour-long meeting had failed to yield any result, the two sides had agreed to meet on Thursday.
Ahead of the meeting, Tomar said the government was ready to address the concerns of farmers regarding the farm laws. “We will hold discussions with farmers’ leaders tomorrow. Let’s see to what extent issues can be resolved,” ANI quoted Tomar as saying.
“I appeal to the farmers that the laws are in their interest and the reforms have been done after a long wait, but if they have any objection to it then we are ready to address their concerns,” he added.
The farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained that the new laws would provide farmers with better opportunities and accused the opposition parties of misleading farmers.
Cong workers try to march to Haryana CM’s home, face water cannons
Workers of the Punjab Youth Congress faced water cannons as they tried to march to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s home in Chandigarh. The police also detained Punjab Youth Congress president Barinder Dhillon and several others.
The activists wanted to ‘gherao’ Khattar’s home to protest against the use of water cannons and teargas against Punjab farmers last week by the Haryana Police, who had tried to stop them from entering the state.
“We came here to wake up the Khattar government,” PTI quoted Dhillon as saying. “We will continue to fight till the farmers get justice,? he added. The roads leading to CM Khattar’s home were sealed and there was heavy police deployment near it.
Transporters threaten to halt operations in North India from Dec 8
The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which is the apex body of transporters representing about 95 lakh truckers and other entities, has threatened to halt operations in northern India from December 8 if the government fails to address concerns of the farmers.
“AIMTC has already extended its support to the farmer agitation from day one. We have decided on stopping our operations strategically starting from North India and if the government does not address the issue of the farmers then we may decide to go for shutting down of transport operations nationwide in their support,” AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal told PTI.
Atwal said the road transport fraternity of the country has extended its full support to farmers who are ‘ann daata’ (food providers).
AIMTC Core Committee Chairman Bal Malkit Singh told PTI, “Starting December 8, we will halt the movement of supplies in entire North India including Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. We will then escalate it to entire country if the government fails to address their issues.”
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