Farm laws to be repealed, but what's next for farmers? Key points from SKM meet
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) held a meeting on Sunday at the Singhu border of the national capital, Delhi, where it discussed the future course of action on farmers' protests. The meeting comes in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise announcement last week declaring that his government will withdraw the controversial agriculture laws that prompted year-long protests from tens of thousands of farmers and posed a significant political challenge to the administration.
The Union Cabinet is likely to discuss the withdrawal of the three contentious farm laws at a meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the development told HT. They also hinted that the Cabinet is expected to discuss the introduction of a new bill during the Winter Session to repeal the three laws.
However, even though the controversial farm laws were on their way out, the protesting farmers said that the demonstrations would continue until Parliament repealed the three contentious legislation. Sunday's meeting was conducted by the umbrella organisation of farmers' bodies, the SKM, to this effect, where they discussed where the future of the protests lies.
Here's all you need to know about the meeting in wake of the repeal of farm laws:
As the Centre has agreed to withdraw the three farm laws, the farmers' unions have shifted their focus on minimum support price (MSP), demanding a law on it. The farmers are also demanding compensation for those who lost their lives during the protests, the withdrawal of cases registered against some of them, and also the waiver of pending electricity bills.
We'll write open letter to PM. Pending demands will be mentioned in it - MSP committee, its rights, it's time frame, its duties; Electricity Bill 2020 and withdrawal of cases against farmers. We'll also write to him to sack the minister related to the Lakhimpur Kheri incident,” farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI following the completion of the meeting.
Parliament march on November 29
The farmers have decided to go ahead with a planned march to the Parliament on November 29 to observe the passage of one year of anti-farm law agitations, the SKM said.
“We discussed the repeal of the farm laws,” said farmer leader Balbir Singh. “A few decisions were taken. The SKM's predefined programmes will continue as it is – a ‘Kisan panchayat’ in Lucknow on November 22, gatherings at all borders on November 26, and a march to the Parliament on the 29th.”
“For a decision on further developments, another meeting of the SKM will be held on November 27,” he added. “The decision will be taken on the basis of the situation until then.”
Farmers' ‘mahapanchayat’ to be held on Monday
The umbrella body of farmers' unions will also be holding a ‘mahapanchayat’ on Monday in Lucknow, the capital city of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, in a show of strength days after the Prime Minister's announcement of repealing the three farm laws.
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said that the agricultural reforms are not going to stop the plight of the peasants. “The biggest reform for the farmers and agriculture will be to make a law pertaining to the MSP,” he wrote in a tweet from his handle on the social microblogging website.
Removal of Ajay Mishra as Union minister
The farmers in Uttar Pradesh are also demanding the removal of Ajay Kumar Mishra, the Union minister of state for home affairs, in connection with the violence that had erupted in the state's Lakhimpur Kheri district on October 3, when farmers were protesting the visit of deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Mishra's native place. Four farmers were run over by a vehicle while four others, including a journalist, a driver and two BJP workers, were killed in the ensuing violence