Farmers call for Bharat Bandh on December 8, demand immediate withdrawal of farm laws

Hindustan Times, New Delhi |
Dec 04, 2020 06:00 PM IST

Farmers call for Bharat Bandh on December 8, demand immediate withdrawal of farm laws

The farmers protesting against the three newly-enacted farm laws have hardened their stance, announcing a call for Bharat Bandh on December 8. The farmers have so far held four rounds of talks with the government, but the impasse has not ended and the borders of Delhi, where the protest is going on, are choked. The protests were launched by farmers of Haryana and Punjab, but those from Uttar Pradesh later joined them.

“Yesterday, we told the government that the farm laws should be withdrawn. On December 5, effigies of PM Modi will be burnt across the country. We have given a call for Bharat Bandh on December 8,” said HS Lokwal, the general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Lakhowal).

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Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at the borders of the national capital demanding that the bills passed by Parliament in September be withdrawn.

“We need to take this protest forward. The government has to take back the farm laws,” said Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha.

The farmers are protesting against The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Earlier, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said the farmers are hoping that the government will meet their demands during the fifth round of talks scheduled on December 5, failing which they will continue their protests against the new farm laws.

“The government and the farmers did not reach any decision during the meeting held on Thursday. The government wants to make amendments to the three laws, but we want the laws to be completely repealed. “If the government does not agree to our demands, we will continue to protest. We are looking to find out what happens in Saturday’s meeting,” Tikait told news agency PTI.

The government had invited the farm leaders for fourth round of talks on Thursday, but the it remaind inconclusive. The two sides are scheduled to meet on Saturday again.

The farmer community has expressed apprehension that the new laws are “anti-farmer”, and would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations. However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

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