Updated: May 22, 2021 7:31:00 am
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of farmer unions protesting against the Centre’s three agricultural laws at Delhi borders now for almost six months, Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his “immediate intervention” to resume talks.
In an email, the SKM said, “Mr Prime Minister, this letter is to remind you that, as the head of the government of the largest democracy in the world, the onus of resuming a serious and sincere dialogue with the farmers lies with you.”
In the email, coming exactly four months after the last round of talks between the government and farm leaders, on January 22, SKM leaders reiterated their demand for repeal of the three farm laws, and threatened to intensify their stir if they did not get a “positive response” for resumption of talks by May 25.
All nine leaders of the SKM are signatories to the letter, including Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal, Gurnam Singh Chadhuni, Hannan Mollah, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Shiv Kumar Kakka, Yogendra Yadav and Yudhvir Singh. The email is copied to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash, who represented the government in earlier talks with farm leaders.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi’s borders demanding repeal of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
In the email to the PM, the SKM leaders say, “This is to reiterate that we remain firm on our core demands: repeal of the three anti-people Farm Acts and legal guarantee for every farmer securing MSP (@C2+50%, besides protecting farmers from the adverse impact of the proposed Electricity Bill.”
Warning they might intensify the agitation, they say, “We do not wish to distract the government at this juncture, even though the hardship we face is mounting every day… But if we do not have a constructive and positive response from your government by 25th of this month, we shall be constrained to announce a further intensification of our struggle in the next phase, beginning with the national day of protest on the 26th of May.”
In all, 11 rounds of talks have been held between the Centre and the farm leaders, without a breakthrough. While the government has offered to amend the laws, farmers are demanding their repeal as well as a legal guarantee for MSP.
In the email, the SKM claims to have lost more than 470 people in the movement “due to this obstinacy on the part of your government”.
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