The seventh round of talks between the government and representatives of protesting farmers remained inconclusive on Monday, with both parties refusing to budge from their stance. While the farmers stuck to their demand for the repeal of three farm laws, the government tried to discuss the laws clause-wise and is believed to have suggested a panel to end the deadlock.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various Delhi borders for over a month against the three laws.
No headway in Centre-farmer talks; next meeting on Jan 8
Union ministers and representatives of farmers unions failed to break the impasse against the three farm laws. The Centre has refused to roll back the laws, prompting farmers to threaten to step up their protests, but the two sides
agreed to meet again on January 8.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said he remains hopeful of a solution in the next meeting on January 8, but asserted that efforts need to be made from both sides for a solution to be reached. He also said no outcome could be reached in the meeting as farmer leaders remained adamant on one issue of repeal of the laws, but the government wanted a clause-wise discussion on the legislations to take forward the talks.
Farmer leaders, however, alleged that it was the government’s “ego problem” that was coming in the way of resolving the issues and they insisted they would not relent on their key demands for the repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee for the MSP (minimum support price) system for procurement of their crops.
Farmers arrange own langar at meeting with Centre
During the lunch break at the meeting with Centre, representatives of protesting farmers had their own food, arranged from langar (community kitchen), as they have been doing for the last few times. However, unlike the last round of talks on December 30, the ministers did not join the union leaders for the langar food and were seen having their own discussion separately during the break, which lasted for almost two hours.
Video: Farmers’ representatives have lunch at Vigyan Bhawan where the government is holding talks with farmers on three farm laws. (Source: BKU)
This is the seventh round of meeting between the farmers and the Centre.
Reliance supports farmers’ demand for fair price, says will never enter contract farming
Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Monday said the company would always support the Indian farmers’ demand for a “fair and profitable price on a predictable basis” for their produce, and that the company had no plans to enter corporate on contract farming, now or in the future. The company also said that it had, through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm, mentioned a petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in which it had sought urgent government intervention to stop the vandalism of its towers.
Most of the farmers that have been protesting against the three new farm laws brought about by the central government in September, have claimed that the new rules would give undue advantage to big contract farming companies. The farmers have also claimed that big companies such as RIL and the Adani Group had been purchasing vast tracts of farm land in Punjab and Haryana, where they planned to undertake contract farming and set up private mandis, which would undermine the government run mandis.
35 Panjab University students write to CJI, seek probe into atrocities on protesting farmers
Thirty-five students of Panjab University have written to Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde and other judges of the Supreme Court seeking an inquiry into alleged police atrocities on the farmers protesting at Delhi borders against the three farm laws. Aanchal Sawa, one of the signatories of the letter, told PTI that the apex court registry has provided the diary number to the letter which may be registered and heard as a PIL.
In the open letter, the students of the Centre for Human Rights and Duties of the university have alleged that there has been “illegitimate use of water cannons, tear gases shells and lathis on peaceful protesting farmers” by police authorities which needs to be probed.
Haryana police use tear-gas on protesters
On the eve of the next round of talks between the protesting farmer unions and the Centre on Monday, the Haryana police on Sunday fired tear gas shells to stop a group of farmers, mostly from Rajasthan, from moving towards Delhi.
The incident occurred near Sangwari village in Rewari district, on NH-48, about 16 km from Gurgaon, at around 4 pm.
On Thursday, over 300 farmers had forced their way past the barricades at the Rajasthan-Haryana border and entered Rewari. On Sunday, about 50 more farmers, mostly from Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan, followed them, after which police fired tear gas shells. Most of the protesters, however, remained at the border.
Opposition leaders support farmers’ demand
Haryana Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Monday said the Congress Legislature Party will provide a financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to families of farmers who have died during the agitation against the Centre’s farm laws.
Ahead of the meeting, the Congress said it would be a “true test of nationalism”, and warned no government can face the wrath of farmers “who believe they are being deceived”.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal also appealed to the Centre to accept all the demands of the protesting farmers and repeal the three farm laws.
Farmers install LED screens at Singhu border to reach out to protesters
As more people join their agitation, farmers protesting against the three farm laws at Delhi’s Singhu border have installed giant LED screens and speakers to reach out to many protesters as possible. As their agitation entered the 37th day, the teams managing of the farm unions have also quipped themselves with walki-talkies to get in touch with each other and send out messages. From LED screens to blasting loudspeakers, the ongoing farmers’ protest at the Singhu border has gone hi-tech to optimise accessibility for protestors.
(Inputs from PTI)
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