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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

No talks since January 22: Govt shaken despite pretending to ignore us, say farmer unions

Farmer unions are planning the next phase of the agitation mindful of the fact that government seems ready to play the waiting game to tire out the protesters.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
April 10, 2021 9:37:37 am
Farmers protests, Farm leaders, Govt-Farmer talks, Farmers news, Farm laws, India news, Indian expressSKM coordinator Dr Darshan Pal said they are chalking out a plan on how to continue the morcha at Delhi borders for the coming months. (Express Archive)

JANUARY 22 was the last time farmer unions had a meeting with the Union government over farm laws. For 77 days now, there has been no formal discussion between the two sides. But farmer unions are planning the next phase of the agitation mindful of the fact that government seems ready to play the waiting game to tire out the protesters.

Famer leader and SKM member Rakesh Tikait said, ‘’Yes, we have had no talks with government after January 22. Now we are busy in making the entire country aware of these deadly farm laws. This aandolan is spreading in the whole country now and is not limited to one or two states alone. Let government remain busy in their election works. Hum lamba aandolan chalane ko tayaar hain…(we are ready for the long haul).

Tikait said, “Government wants this struggle to get violent. People get tired…but we are continuously appealing people to maintain peace.”

Dr Darshan Pal, coordinator of SKM, said, “Now we are chalking out a plan to how to continue the morcha at Delhi borders for the coming months. As harvesting is going on for wheat growing states, we have issued appeals to urban people and even farmers who don’t grow wheat to be part of this morcha. Our 24 hours traffic jam at KMP will be done from 8 am, April 10 to 8am on April 11. Government is delaying talking to us intentionally due to which farmers are getting angry. But this aandolan is spreading fast in the whole country. Summers are ahead so shanties have been made by farmers to stay put. Now we are doing several meetings in different states apart from having morchas only at borders. This is how it is spreading in the country. A parliament march in the first fortnight of May is an important programme for which we are yet to decide an exact date.”

Gurnam Singh Chaduni, president of the Haryana BKU, who was in Punjab on April 8, said, ‘’In Haryana, BJP is trying hard to instigate farmers to get violent. Our aim is to protest against BJP-JJP leaders in a peaceful manner, any violence will be helping BJP as it will entangle farmers within Haryana and government will try to lift morchas from borders. So our continuous appeal to farmers is stay peaceful. I am moving in different parts of the country, doing rallies. Let them arrest me if they want, but that will not stop me from telling people about these black laws.”

Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala, general secretary of Kirti Kisan Union, said, “It appears that the government is ignoring us but inside, it is completely shaken. SKM is not a political platform, we are farmers of the country and we are the ones who have made a difference to BJP. We are continuing our protest against farm laws and we will continue spreading awareness. Irrespective of the poll results of 5 states, our protest is to continue till the laws are not repealed.”

He added, “We have a major program ahead. During the first fortnight of May, we will be marching towards Parliament. Date is yet to be decided. Moreover, the pace of struggle will depend on the results of poll bound states on May 2. If BJP feels the heat, our morcha will get intensified on its own. If they perform well by chance… even then we will intensify our struggle. Now BJP is feeling heat in Haryana, Western and eastern UP. In fact, SKM is the only platform which has made it possible as we are the common people who are fighting for our rights and we have no vested interests like political parties.”

Jagmohan Singh, working group member of the All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), said, ‘’Farmers are sitting on borders since November 26. We spent the entire winter on roads. Now summer has also started, but farmers will do harvesting as well as will be at morchas. Yes, they have not called us after January 22 even once. But a number of times we did get messages to reconsider the government’s previous offer of holding of farm laws for 18 months. However, we cannot settle for anything less than repeal of laws. This government agreed before the media of not amending electricity act, but now they are bringing it in Parliament. Who can trust them! We will continue with our programmes as normal.”

Jagjit Singh Dallewal, president of BKU (Sidhupur) that farmer unions were indirectly approached to consider the government’s earlier offer.

Now tractors are coming back to Punjab and instead sheds are taking their place at Tikri and Singhu borders. Farmers are taking fans, ACs as well to protest sites.

“This shows that we are ready for a long haul irrespective of the weather. On May 10, 1857 revolution took place against the British and in the same month we will be marching towards Parliament,” added Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala.

“What next? Protest against farm laws and nothing else. This farmers’ movement is the biggest movement in the country, “ said Manjit Singh Dhaner, senior vice president of BKU (Dakaunda).

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