Farmers say hopeful of resolution but won’t settle for amendments
Asserting that they will not settle for anything but complete revocation of new laws that seek to open up farm trade, protesting farmers on Thursday said that they were hopeful of a resolution after talks with the Centre.
Kulwant Singh Sandhu, 65, general secretary of Janmuri Kisan Sabha, who attended the meeting said, “Our movement has made a huge difference in the way the government used to treat us earlier. The government wants amendments in the three new laws, but we want complete repeal. The government has also offered us a few more things, including power subsidy, but our demand is different. We will hold a meeting with our fellow farmers on Friday before the next round of talks scheduled on Saturday.”
Harjinder Singh Tanda of Azad Kisan Sangharsh Committee, said, “Thursday’s talks made little progress. We are hopeful. In the next meeting, we will now put more pressure on the government to revoke the new farm laws.”
At Singhu border, as their leaders left for the meeting with the Centre at Vigyan Bhavan, farmers were seen sitting in groups and discussing about the outcome of the meeting and the future course for their agitation. Thousands of farmers have gathered at Delhi’s borders to protest against the three contentious laws.
Several farmers said that they will try to move towards the Parliament in case their talks fail to reach a conclusion on Saturday. Karanweer Singh, a farmer from Kurushetra, who is protesting at Singhu border, said, “We will intensify the movement after December 5, and try to march towards the Parliament to make our voice heard. Thousands more from Punjab and Haryana are coming to support us.”
Balwinder Singh Rana, president of Majja Kisan Sangarsh Committee, Punjab, said the government should consider their demand for conducting a special session of the Parliament to revoke the three laws. “We are not sitting on the roads leaving our homes for some amendments. We will not end the protest before the government revokes these new laws. Thursday’s meeting has inspired some hope, as the government had shown interest in solving the issue,” he said.
Earlier in the day, farmers protesting at the Ghazipur border said the protests will only go up after Saturday, if the issue remains unresolved. “More farmers will join us if required. We will not give up unless the demands are met. Our further course of action will be decided soon after holding a meeting with other leaders,” said Natasha Tikait, a leader of Bhartiya Kisan Union.
At Singhu border, groups of farmers from neighbouring Sonipat and Faridabad also visited the protest site to extend their solidarity. The youngsters were seen drawing graffiti on the walls with messages in support of the ongoing agitation.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad also visited the Singhu border on Thursday. “The government has so far tried to mislead the farmers. But now, the government knows that the farmers have decided to fight their own battles and that’s why it has initiated a dialogue. I have come here on my birthday today to extend my solidarity with my farmer brothers,” he said. Azad had also visited the protest site at Ghazipur border on Tuesday.