Farmers reject SC committee, demand repeal of farm laws
New Delhi: Farmer unions protesting at Delhi’s borders on Tuesday rejected the committee formed by the Supreme Court to resolve the stand-off over the three farm laws and termed it as a “proxy committee” of the government. The apex court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of three new contentious farm laws and constituted a four-member committee to hear all objections and report to the court.
The farmer unions said they will not hold any discussion with the committee and alleged that all the four-members of the committee are pro-reforms. Addressing a press conference at the Singhu border on Tuesday evening, Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Rajewal, said, “All the four members of the committee have been openly justifying the three new farm laws. How can we expect them to take a rational stand on the matter? We had been saying that the farm unions will not accept any committee, forget about a committee like this… We never went to the Supreme Court demanding a committee. It’s the government who was trying to form a committee through the court.”
Jagmohan Singh, secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), said farmers will reject any committee even if its members are changed. “The idea behind setting up committees is to divert the attention of people from the real issues. The government is trying to end our movement. We want to tell the government that this is an indefinite movement and we will not go anywhere till the three new farm laws are repealed.”
“The committee has been constituted to find out the drawbacks in the three laws. We don’t want to know that. We want to complete the revocation of these laws. The Supreme Court can help us by taking suo moto cognisance and repealing these laws. We do not want any committee. We want to negotiate with the government,” said another farmer leader Raminder Singh Patiala.
Farmer leaders also said that their ongoing agitation is not going to conclude on Republic Day. “There are many rumours about our January 26 plan. There have been attempts to propagate false propaganda that farmers will gherao Parliament or take over the Red Fort on Republic Day. Our programme will be very peaceful. We will announce the complete plan after January 15. We want to request farmers coming from parts of the country to participate in the January 26 plan to remain peaceful. We will never tolerate violence and any irresponsible behaviour,” Rajewal said.
The agitation at Delhi’s four key borders – Singhu, Tikri, UP Gate, and Chilla – entered 48th day on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, farmers protesting at Delhi borders were seen preparing for festival of Lohri, which will be celebrated on Wednesday. “Lohri marks the beginning of the new harvest season. We pray for the good harvest by burning bonfires and singing songs and dancing around it. This year, we will be singing the songs of resistance by burning copies of the three new laws.” said Gurpreet Kaur, 58, a farmer from Tarn Taran, protesting at the Singhu border.
Several farmers said their family members are also travelling to Delhi on Wednesday to celebrate Lohri with them. Devinder Singh, a member of the main stage committee at Singhu, said, “My parents asked me if I was coming home for Lohri. When I told them that I can’t come in the middle of the agitation, they decided to join me here. Parents and family members of many other protesters are arriving in Delhi on Wednesday to celebrate the festival.”