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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Farmers’ Protest highlights: Deadlock continues as seventh round of farmers-Centre talks remain inconclusive

The farmers have remained adamant that they will only end the protests if the government agrees to repeal the three farm laws.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 5, 2021 10:28:01 am
Farmer leaders say getting threatening phone callsFarmers sit at the back of their tractor trolley as they continue to block a highway at the Delhi- Haryana border at the outskirts of New Delhi. (AP Photo/File)

The seventh round of meeting between representatives of protesting farmers and the Central government failed to resolve the impasse against the three farm laws. The government remained firm on not repealing the contentious laws and is believed to have suggested a panel to take the matter forward, PTI reported. The farmer groups also stuck to their demand for the repeal of the Acts.

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who is participating in the meeting, told PTI over the phone during the break that the first hour of discussion remained focussed on the three laws. “Our demand is the repeal of the laws. We will not agree to any alternatives such as the setting of the committee,” he said.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, are present at the meeting with the representatives of 40 farmer unions. The 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 more than one and half hours.

The farmers had earlier threatened to intensify protest by shutting malls and petrol pumps if today’s talks with the Centre fail. “Our demands remain the same. The farm laws must be repealed. The two amendments need to be rolled back and the government must listen. Our agitation will continue,” Jageer Singh Dalewal, a Bharat Kisan Union member said. They even threatened to shut malls and petrol pumps if the Monday’s talks with the Centre fail.

Live Blog

Farmers Protest highlights: 7th round of farmers-Centre talks remain inconclusive; next round of meeting on January 8. 

21:01 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Farmers' protest: 35 Panjab University students write to CJI, seek probe into police atrocities

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.

18:34 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Wanted to discuss laws clause-wise, farmers adamant on repeal: Narendra Singh Tomar

"We wanted farmer unions to discuss three laws clause-wise. We could not reach any solution as farmer union remained adamant on the repeal of the laws," Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said after the meeting with farmers. 

"Looking at today's discussion, I hope that we will have a meaningful discussion during our next meeting and we will come to a conclusion," he said.

18:33 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Will not accept amendments, want complete rollback of farm laws: Farmer leader

The ministers wanted us to discuss the law point-wise. We rejected it and said that there is no point in discussing the laws because we want a complete rollback of the laws. Govt intends to take us towards amendments but we will not accept it: Yudhvir Singh, Bhartiya Kisan Union said after the seventh round of meeting with the Centre

18:01 (IST)04 Jan 2021
7th round of meeting between farmers and Centre remains inconclusive

The seventh round of talks between the government and farmer unions remained inconclusive as no consensus emerged on farmers' demands of repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee for a higher minimum support price. Next round of meeting will be on January 8.

17:48 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Stalemate continues over repeal of laws; Ministers in huddle

A stalemate continued on Monday between the government and a representative group of thousands of protesting farmers, as the unions stuck to their demand for the repeal of three farm laws right from the beginning of the meeting even as the ministers listed various benefits of the Acts.

The two sides took a lunch break after just about one hour of talks, sources said, during which the three central ministers went into a huddle to discuss the way forward while the union leaders had the langar food arranged by them, 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 in a separate room during the break.

The break continued for more than an hour with no signs of any breakthrough as the government also remained firm on not repealing the laws and is believed to have suggested a panel to take the matter forward.

17:18 (IST)04 Jan 2021
No alternative, govt has to repeal laws if it wants protesters to go home: BKU leader

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who is participating in the meeting, told PTI over the phone during the break that the first hour of discussion remained focussed on the three laws. "Our demand is the repeal of the laws. We will not agree to any alternatives such as the setting of the committee," he said.

Asked if there could be a concrete outcome from the meeting, Tikait said, "I don't think so. They have to take back the laws for us to end the protest and go back to our homes."

16:51 (IST)04 Jan 2021
True test of 'nationalism' today: Congress on govt-farmers talk

Ahead of the next round of talks between the Centre and the agitating farmers, the Congress Monday 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".

The government will hold the seventh round of talks with the agitating farmers and their leaders at Vigyan Bhawan later in the day.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter, "Today is the true test of 'Nationalism'. Will Modi Government act in 'National Interest' or 'Crony Corporate Interest'."

The Congress has been demanding the repeal of the three farm laws whose enactment has triggered a massive protest by farmers.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said those sitting under the dripping tents in the winter rains "are our own fearless farmers and not strangers".

There is nothing more left to be seen as far as the government's "brutality" on farmers is concerned, he alleged, as he shared some pictures of agitating farmers braving the winter chill while protesting at Delhi's borders.

15:51 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Farmers' representatives have lunch at Vigyan Bhawan

Farmers' representatives have food during the lunch break at Vigyan Bhawan where the government is holding talks with farmers on three farm laws.

15:05 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Meeting underway: Union ministers observe silence to mourn farmers who died during protest

Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash along with government officials and representatives of farmers observe a two-minute silence for farmers who died during the ongoing protest.

15:03 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Accept all demands of farmers, repeal agri laws: Kejriwal to Centre

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday appealed to the Centre to accept all the demands of the protesting farmers and repeal the three farm laws.

In a tweet ahead of the protesting farmer unions' meeting with the Centre, Kejriwal lauded their resolve in continuing their agitation despite rains and cold weather.

"Salute to the resolve of the farmers staying firm on the roads despite rains and cold. I appeal to the Centre to accept all the demands of the farmers and repeal the three black farm laws in today's meeting," Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and some other states are camping at several entry points of the national capital blocking the highways, demanding that the Centre repeal the farm laws and give legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

14:53 (IST)04 Jan 2021
40 representatives of protesting farmers present at meeting with Centre
14:50 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Seventh round of farmers-Centre talks underway at Vigyan Bhawan

The seventh round of meeting between the representatives of the farmers protesting at the Delhi borders and the Central government is underway at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi.

13:37 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Hope farmers gets justice, will be relief to all: Dharmendra

Ahead of the seventh round of talks between the central government and protesting farmer unions, veteran actor and former MP Dharmendra on Monday said he prays with all his heart that the farmers agitating against the three farm laws get justice today. Braving the cold and rains, thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting at various borders of the national capital for more than a month against the new agri legislations. "I hope today my farmer brothers get justice. I pray with all my heart. Every noble soul will get relief," Dharmendra, 84, wrote in Hindi on Twitter. This is not the first time the screen icon has spoken up in the wake of the farmers crisis. In December, Dharmendra urged the Centre to find a solution to the protests over the farm laws. --PTI

12:53 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Farmer leaders arrive at Vigyan Bhawan

A delegation of farmer leaders arrive at Vigyan Bhawan for talks with Union government on the three farm laws. "We hope there is a breakthrough in this meeting in the new year," says a farmer leader.

12:08 (IST)04 Jan 2021
No plans of entering corporate farming business: Reliance

Distancing itself from the contentious farm laws, Reliance Industries on Monday said it neither buys food grains directly from farmers nor is in the business of contract farming.

In a press release, the company said, "Reliance Industries Limited have not done any 'corporate' or 'contract' farming in the past, and have absolutely no plans to enter this business."

On the vandalism of towers and telecom infrastructure owned by Jio, the company moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking urgent intervention of the government .

09:37 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Tractor march on Jan 6, 26, if demands not met: KMSC

"Our demands are the same as before-repeal the three farm laws & guarantee MSP. If our demands aren't met, then, we'll hold tractor march on Jan 6 and also on Jan 26," said Sukhwinder S Sabra, Joint Secy, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab ahead of seventh round of talks with government.

09:35 (IST)04 Jan 2021
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.

Confirming that tear gas shells were fired, Rajesh Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bawal, said: “The protesters said those who had gone ahead did not have enough provisions. They asked for permission to go to them and set up a langar, and were allowed to do so. However, when they got there, the entire group tried to break through the barricades and move forward.” Read more

09:30 (IST)04 Jan 2021
Will shut malls, petrol pumps if Jan 4 talks fail, warn farmers

Ahead of the next round of talks, farm unions Friday warned that they will start shutting all malls and petrol pumps in Haryana if the government fails to resolve their main demands for the repeal of three new farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP in the January 4 meeting.

After the sixth round of formal negotiations on Wednesday, the government and farm unions had reached some common ground to resolve protesting farmers’ concerns over rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning, but the two sides remained deadlocked over the main contentious issues of the repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP. Read full story here

Meanwhile, three deaths were reported at the Singhu and Tikri borders, where farmers have been camping for over a month now. Jagbir, 66, from Jind district, and Jashnpreet, 18, from Bathinda, died in Tikri, while, Shamsher, 44, from Sangrur was found dead inside a truck at Singhu protest site.

Meanwhile, protesters from various farmer unions clashed in Sangrur with Moga police Sunday afternoon while agitating against the visit of Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma Sunday.

The BJP president had come to attend a party workers’ meeting at the residence of Sangrur district president Randip Deol. Kirti Kisan Union (KKU) protesters clashed with police who had put up a double barricading on the Sangrur-Patiala bypass ahead of Deol’s house.

SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal too faced protests at Bhadra village of Budhlada constituency in Mansa district Sunday afternoon. The former Union minister had gone to visit a few villages of Mansa to condole the families of farmers who had died at Delhi borders. However, after her visitto the house of one Jagseer Singh, she faced protest from villagers bearing flags of BKU Ugrahan and BKU Dakaunda, asking her to go back.

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