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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Farmers’ Protest Highlights: Khattar, Dushyant say no threat to Haryana govt

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Chautala on Tuesday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in the backdrop of the ongoing protests by farmers against the new agri laws

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 13, 2021 4:56:45 pm
Farmers protest against the farm laws at Singhu border in New Delhi on Monday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a stay of the implementation of the contentious three new farm laws hoping this will end the prolonged protests by the farmers and also constituted a four-member panel of agri experts to resolve the impasse between their leaders and the Centre. A three-judge bench of the top court headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said that as a consequence of the stay till further orders, the MSP system in existence before the enactment of the farm laws shall be maintained.

But in their response to what the apex court called an “extraordinary” order of stay, the farmer unions made it clear they will not call off the protests until the three laws enacted in September are repealed. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, are protesting at Delhi borders since November 28 last, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system for their crops.

The leaders of the unions also claimed the members of the court-appointed committee tasked to listen to their grievances are “pro-government”, and asserted they will not appear before it. However, the Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary sought to allay their apprehensions, saying the panel was “impartial” and it will take the opinion of all farmers and experts across the country. Choudhary told PTI in an interview the stay order is against the Centre’s wish but the court direction is ‘sarva-manya’ (acceptable to all). Leaders of the farmer unions and several opposition leaders including NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, a former union agriculture minister, welcomed the stay order.

The central government Tuesday, during the hearing on pleas challenging the constitutional validity of farm laws, in Supreme Court claimed that ‘Khalistanis’ have infiltrated the ongoing farmers’ protest on Delhi borders. The claim made by Attorney General K K Venugopal came in response when the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde enquired about the charges by one of the parties that a banned outfit, ‘Sikhs for Justice’, was aiding the protests.

Live Blog

Supreme Court suspends three farm laws, sets up committee of experts to hold talks; SC seeks response from Centre on Khalistanis infiltrating farmers' protests; SC issues notice on Delhi Police plea seeking to stop Republic Day tractor rally.

22:08 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Pawar welcomes SC order to stay implementation of 3 farm laws

Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to stay the implementation of three farm laws and set up a four-member panel to resolve the impasse between the government and farmer unions over the legislations. He said the move was a big relief for farmers and hoped that a concrete dialogue between the central government and farmers will be initiated now.

Farmers have been protesting at various border points of Delhi for more than a month now, demanding a repeal of the three laws.
"A welcome decision taken by the Apex Court of India to put on hold the implementation of three farm bills and set up a four-member committee to resolve the issues. 

"It is a big relief for farmers' and I hope that a concrete dialogue between the Central government and farmers' will be initiated now, keeping the farmers' interests and well-being in mind," Pawar said in a tweet.

21:21 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Amit Shah-Khattar meeting ends, Haryana CM says discussed security, law & order

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Chautala on Tuesday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in the backdrop of the ongoing protests by farmers against the new agri laws. "Haryana is epicenter of farmers agitation so we discussed the law and security of the state. After SC stayed the implementation of farm laws we hope that farmers will end their agitation. We also discussed about holding celebrations for January 26 without any trouble," said Khattar after the meeting.

20:50 (IST)12 Jan 2021
SC issues notice on plea against proposed tractor rally on Republic Day

The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear the Centre's application seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor or trolley march or any other kind of protest which seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations of the Republic Day on January 26.

The Centre, in an application filed through Delhi Police, has said that any proposed march or protest which seeks to disrupt and disturb the Republic Day celebrations will cause an "embarrassment to the nation". It said the right to protest can never include "maligning the nation globally" and requested the top court to restrain anyone from conducting any protest march either in the form of tractor march, trolley march, vehicle march or any other mode by entering into the National Capital Region Territory of Delhi. (PTI)

20:19 (IST)12 Jan 2021
After SC order, farmers should end protest: Khattar

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said the farmers protesting at Delhi's borders should end their agitation now following the formation of a committee by the Supreme Court over the new farm laws. "The ball is now in the court of the SC and I feel whatever is its decision, it will be acceptable to all," he said, welcoming the SC order.

The Supreme Court stayed till further orders the implementation the three central agri-marketing laws over which farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been protesting for weeks. The court also announced the formation of a four-member committee to resolve the deadlock over the new laws between the Centre and farmers' unions.

On the farmer unions' refusal to call off their protest after the SC order, Khattar said there was no reason now for them to continue with it. He said the farmers should lift their 'dharna' at Delhi's border and head back to the places they had come from.

19:24 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Congress flag their support to contentious laws

Addressing a press conference, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party welcomes the Supreme Court's concern over the farm laws, but the party has issues with the composition of the committee formed by it. He said the members of the committee have already expressed their views in the past favouring the new laws "so the question arises in our minds that how justice will be done to farmers by their hands"."All the members of the committee constituted by the Supreme Court have already supported the agricultural bill," Congress party's Madhya Pradesh unit tweeted while tagging newspaper articles written by Gulati and Joshi and also news reports quoting Ghanwat and Mann speaking against the repeal of the laws.

19:06 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Members of SC panel on agri laws pro-govt, won't appear before it: Farmer unions

Agitating farmer unions Tuesday disapproved of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court to break the deadlock over the acts and said they will continue their protest against the three legislations. Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border here, Union leaders claimed the members of the committee are "pro-government", and asserted they will not appear before it.

The Supreme Court earlier in the day stayed the implementation of the controversial farm laws till further orders and set up a four-member committee to resolve the impasse between the Centre and the farmer unions protesting at Delhi's borders over the legislations.

"The members of the SC-appointed committee are not dependable as they have been writing on how agri laws are pro-farmer. We will continue our agitation," farmer leader Balbeer Singh Rajewal told the presser.

The farmer leader said that unions never demanded the apex court form a committee to resolve the impasse over the laws, alleging the Central government is behind these developments. (PTI)

18:50 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala arrive at MHA to meet Home Minister

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Chautala on Tuesday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in the backdrop of the ongoing protests by farmers against the new agri laws, officials said. The meeting came on a day the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the three farm laws till further orders and set up a committee to end the impasse between the Centre and farmer unions protesting at Delhi borders.

18:33 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Farm laws reflect our demands, will try to improve them: Shetkari Sanghatana head

Shetkari Sanghatana chief Anil Ghanwat, a member of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court to hold talks with agitating farmers, said on Tuesday that the new farm laws partially implement what his outfit has been demanding for decades. His attempt will be to improve them, he said, while coming out in support of reforms including permission for contract farming. "We are not lauding the Centre's three acts that are described as giving freedom to farmers. It was the Shetkari Sanghatana headed by late Sharad Joshi which had pressed for these changes first," Ghanwat, whose organization has been accused of backing the Centre on the issue despite representing farmers, said. (PTI)

18:11 (IST)12 Jan 2021
SC grants Committee constituted by it 2 months time to submit report containing recommendations

The Supreme Court has granted the Committee constituted by it two months time from the date of first sitting to submit report containing recommendations. The first sitting will be held within ten days from today.

17:41 (IST)12 Jan 2021
BJP govt in Haryana let party's central leadership down on farmers' protest: Birender Singh

With the farmers' agitation continuing for over six weeks, senior BJP leader and former Union minister Birender Singh on Tuesday said the party's government in Haryana and its leadership in Punjab didn't handle the issue properly and let the central brass down.

However, Singh, who was Union Minister in the NDA government from 2014-19, said the intent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government behind these farm bills was overall welfare of farmers.

"The intent of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government behind these three farm laws was to improve the quality of life of farmers and their overall welfare," Singh told PTI.

Sounding critical of his party's own government in Haryana and its leadership in Punjab, Singh said the issue would have been resolved much earlier had the they addressed the farmers' apprehensions effectively in initial days of the protest.

17:03 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Centre must repeal farm laws or it will cost BJP-JJP in Hry heavily, say section of JJP MLAs

The Centre should repeal the three farm laws or it will cost the ruling BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana "heavily", a section of JJP MLAs said on Tuesday, hours before their party chief and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala meets Union Home Minister Amit Shah here.

Chautala and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar are scheduled to meet Shah in the national capital, and they will be accompanied by BJP state president O P Dhankar. The BJP, which won 40 seats in the 90-member Haryana assembly in the 2019 polls, formed government with the support of 10 Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) MLAs and several Independents.  The Centre should rollback these laws as farmers of Haryana, Punjab and the country are up in arms against the legislations, JJP MLA Jogi Ram Sihag told PTI. "We will request Dushyant ji to convey our feelings to Amit Shah ji," he said.

16:29 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Farmers wish to interact with government, not Supreme Court: AIKSCC

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) in a press statement said, 'Farmers have explained in detail to GOI that 3 laws will lead to corporate control over agri processing, markets. Will lead to high cost of inputs, higher debts on peasants, lower the crop prices, increase farmer losses, decrease govt procurement, end PDS, raise food costs, higher farmer and agri worker suicides, hunger deaths, eviction from land due to debts. Govt has hidden these hard facts from people and courts.'

It added that the Kisan Parade announced by farmers organisations on Republic Day will be held at Delhi and all over the country in large numbers. 'Farmers will observe Republic day. The government is trying to misguide the Court on this too. The farmers' struggle on their key demands will continue as per the earlier announcement on 13th 18th and 23rd January. Farmers wish to interact with the Govt, not engage with the Supreme Court, where farmers did not present ourselves. So no comment on it, no offence to it,' the statement further said.

16:24 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Won’t join Supreme Court-ordered committee, say farmer leaders

The Supreme Court Tuesday suspended the implementation of the three farm laws until further notice, and set up a committee comprising experts to hear the parties and understand the ground situation. When told the farmer unions were not willing to appear before the committee, the bench said those “genuinely” interested in finding a solution would do so. The farmer unions reiterated that they will not participate in any court-ordered committee process. “It is clear that the Court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the 3 Acts and have actively advocated for the same,” a statement issued by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee said.

15:48 (IST)12 Jan 2021
SC's stay on implementation of farm laws a positive step: NCP

The Supreme Court staying implementation of the three controversial new farm laws enacted by the Centre is a welcome and positive step in the right direction to get justice for farmers, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said on Tuesday. The apex court has stayed the implementation of the new farm laws till further orders and decided to set up a committee to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers' unions protesting at Delhi borders. "Hon'ble Supreme Court's stay on implementation of #FarmLaws is a welcome & positive step in the right direction to get Justice for our farmers. "Central Government must now stop their rigid ways of functioning, accept their mistake and rectify it," Maharashtra minister and NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik tweeted.

14:10 (IST)12 Jan 2021
SC sets up four-member committee to understand farmers' protests

The four-member committee set up by the Supreme Court comprises Bhupinder Singh Mann of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi and agricultural economist Ashok Gulati.

13:38 (IST)12 Jan 2021
JUST IN | SC suspends implementation of farm laws

The Supreme Court has suspended the implementation of three farm laws, and set up a committee to hold talks between farmer unions and the central government to resolve the impasse.

13:21 (IST)12 Jan 2021
SC seeks Centre's response on allegation of banned organisation infiltrating farmers' protests

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to file an affidavit by tomorrow on whether a banned organisation, 'Sikhs for Justice', has infiltrated the farmers' protests. The SC order came after P S Narasimha, who represents a petitioner supporting the farm laws, submitted the same. The Attorney General has said he will file an affidavit with Intelligence Bureau records.

13:08 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Farmers' protest: One union tells SC elderly and women have agreed to return home

A day after the SC told farmer unions to send home the elderly and women, AP Singh, representing farmers union BHU (Bhanu), says the message has been passed on to his clients and they have agreed to go back, reports Live Law. The CJI tells Singh his statement will be recorded.

The apex court Monday had requested that the elderly and women who were protesting at Delhi's borders return home due to the cold and Covid-19.

13:03 (IST)12 Jan 2021
Hearing on farm laws: SC firm on forming committee, says willing to suspend the law but not indefinitely

During the hearing on the farm laws, the Supreme Court seems firm on constituting a committee to hear both sides -- the farmer unions and central government. It says the committee will decide which parts of the law need to be deleted, and which will remain. 

12:50 (IST)12 Jan 2021
SC of farm laws: Suspending law can't be for empty purpose

The Supreme Court says it will pass an interim order that farmers land can't be sold for contract farming, and adds that suspending the farm law can't be for an empty purpose.

Farmers celebrate after the SC hearing, at the Ghazipur border Monday. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

Supreme Court suggests stay on farm laws, panel for talks

The Supreme Court Monday questioned the process behind the enactment of the farm laws and expressed deep "disappointment" over the Centre’s handling of the farm protests. Scheduling its order for today, the court indicated that it could even stay the implementation of the new farm laws to ostensibly “facilitate” a solution.

Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, who headed the bench, minced few words: "We do not think the Centre is handling the issue correctly. We don’t think you are being effective."

Suggesting that the court would appoint a committee that “will tell us if the laws are in public interest,” CJI Bobde said: “We propose to form a committee and if the government does not, then we will stay the implementation of the farm Acts…We are doing this because you have failed to solve the problem. We are proposing to pass this order to facilitate resolution of this problem by a committee chosen by us…We will make the atmosphere comfortable and conducive for talks. Till then the farm laws can be put on hold…If laws are put on hold then negotiations will have a chance to work out.”

Ahead of R-Day protest, drive to recruit volunteers

As part of preparations for a large protest on Republic Day during which farmers would bring their tractors into the capital, farm unions are carrying out a mass recruitment drive in villages across Punjab. Over the last two days, thousands have signed up.

Farmer unions had earlier announced they would march to the capital on January 26 if their demands to repeal the farm laws are not met. Rajinder Singh, vice-president, Kirti Kisan Union Punjab, said: “We began the drive last Friday and it has received a good response. This is being done so that our movement is well organised . We will note down details of all volunteers who will travel to Singhu ahead of Republic Day. We are expecting lakhs of people from Punjab to turn up…”

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