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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

We welcome SC order but our demand remains – repeal farm laws, not just stay: Farmer unions 

Hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the farm laws, the apex court expressed disappointment over the negotiations between the government and the farmers who are protesting on Delhi borders, seeking to repeal the contentious farm bills passed in Parliament in September last year.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Updated: January 11, 2021 8:18:13 pm
Farm unions welcome stay but reject panel: it’s pro-GovtFarmer unions opposed to the laws announced Tuesday that they would not participate in the consultation process to be initiated by a four-member committee appointed by the Supreme Court to resolve the standoff. (Express File Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Hours after the Supreme Court said it proposed to stay the implementation of the three farm laws, farmer unions have said that their demand ‘is for complete repeal and not just to stay the laws’.

Hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the farm laws, the apex court expressed disappointment over the negotiations between the government and the farmers who are protesting on Delhi borders, seeking to repeal the contentious farm bills passed in Parliament in September last year.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of BKU Ugrahan – the largest farmer body of Punjab – said, “Our demand is to repeal the laws and not just to put a stay on them. We appreciate the SC’s hearing in which they have snubbed the centre government for not resolving the issue till now. We take it as a badge of honour for our continuous struggle.”

He, however, said “we don’t accept the idea of making any committee to resolve the  issue as suggested by SC.” “On behalf of my union, I feel that SC will be looking at the public sentiment against these farm laws which were not demanded by people. Now people are ready to take their lives to lodge protest against these laws. We expect that SC will keep public interest on top priority and will direct the centre government to repeal these laws,” Ugrahan added.

Jhanda Singh Jethuke, senior vice president of BKU Ugrahan, said, their “struggle against these farm laws will continue till the time they are not repealed”.

Prem Singh Bhangu, president of All India Kisan Federation – Punjab unit, said, “Though we are yet to discuss this matter with our team of lawyers, but our immediate reaction to the SC hearing is that we stick to our demand of repeal of laws. Stay on laws was never our demand. Hence, our struggle will continue till the time laws are not repealed. We   never asked for these laws  and we protested against them from Day 1.”

Bhangu is one of the four spokesmen out of the 42 members of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) who talk to the Government on behalf of the rest of the members.

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, member of All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said, “We will first discuss the hearing with our lawyers as this hearing is to continue till Tuesday now. Later meetings of  32  farmer unions of Punjab and also of SKM will happen and we will arrive at our conclusion as to how to react to the hearing. However, one thing is clear that we want repeal of laws and nothing less than repeal will be acceptable to us. Who knows that before reaching  Punjab, this stay is lifted yet again. ”

Ruldu Singh, President of Punjab Kisan Union said, “If SC can put a stay on farm laws, they can direct the Centre to repeal them as well. The SC must see the public sentiment as lakhs of people are sitting on roads, over 70 farmers have died, four have committed  suicide.  We respect the court. However,  we are not going to move back, if laws are not repealed.”

Prem Singh Gehlawat, President of All India Kisan Federation- Haryana unit, said, “Our one point demand is repeal of laws, as now we have no trust in the Union Government. Stay on laws is a temporary measure. We never wanted these laws, they (centre) are infringing upon the rights of states as agriculture is a state subject. They have converted wheat to flour and paddy to rice in their laws. Hence, legally too, these laws can be repealed.  Our unions will not move even an inch till the time laws are not repealed.”

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