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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Farmers thank SC but draw line: no panel, no stay, only repeal

On Monday, the Supreme Court indicated that it could stay the implementation of the new farm laws and proposed the setting up of a committee.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar , Raakhi Jagga | New Delhi | Updated: January 12, 2021 7:03:38 am
Farmers celebrate after the SC hearing, at the Ghazipur border Monday. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

While welcoming the Supreme Court’s outburst against the Centre, unions representing protesting farmers turned down the idea of a committee to resolve the issue and reiterated their demand for a repeal of the farm laws, not merely a stay on them.

On Monday, the apex court indicated that it could stay the implementation of the new laws and proposed the setting up of a committee.

Hours after the court proceedings, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint forum of farm unions, issued a statement that read, “…we informed (our lawyers) that we are unanimously not agreeable to go before any committee that may be appointed by the SC due to stubborn attitude of the government.”

The statement also reiterated that “all the farmers’ organisations who are spearheading the fight against the farm laws are unanimous in their decision that the laws must be repealed.”

Dr Darshan Pal, coordinator of the Morcha and president of Krantikari Kisan Union, Punjab, said farmers won’t participate in any proceedings before a committee that may be appointed by the Supreme Court. “The matter is between us and the government; we don’t want to prolong it,” he said.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of BKU Ugrahan, the largest farmer union in Punjab, told The Indian Express, “Our demand is for a repeal of the laws; not just a stay on them. We appreciate the Supreme Court’s hearing in which they have snubbed the Centre for not resolving the issue till now. We take it as a badge of honour for our continuous struggle. We don’t, however, accept the idea of setting up a committee to resolve the issue… We hope the SC will keep public interest in mind and direct the Centre to repeal these laws.”

Ruldu Singh, president of the Punjab Kisan Union, said, “If the SC can stay the farm laws, they can direct the Centre to repeal them as well. We respect the court but we won’t go back if the laws are not repealed… If the court can see public sentiments, they must talk to the Centre and ask them to repeal the laws.”

Prem Singh Bhangu, president of the All India Kisan Federation (Punjab unit), which is part of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, said, “We continue to stick to our demand for a repeal of the laws. A stay (on the laws) was never our demand and so our struggle will continue till the laws are repealed.”

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, member of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said, “We will discuss the hearing with our lawyers as this hearing is to continue till Tuesday now. However, one thing is clear: we want the laws to be repealed, and nothing less than that. What if this stay is lifted even before we reach Punjab?”

Prem Singh Gehlawat of the All India Kisan Federation (Haryana unit) said, “We welcome the SC’s hearing in which they have taken the Centre to task. Our one-point demand is a repeal of laws as we have no trust in the Union government. Stay on laws is a temporary measure. We never wanted these laws in the first place.”

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