At long last, farmers call off year-long protests as govt agrees to all demands
After intense negotiations initiated by the Union home ministry, the farmers protesting at the borders of the national capital have finally decided to end their year-long movement. This comes in the wake of the Centre accepting all demands put forward by the protesting farmers, including the withdrawal of all agitation-related cases and compensation to the families of farmers who had died during the course of the movement against the contentious agriculture laws.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) – the umbrella body of farmers' unions spearheading the protests – had said last evening that their 14-month agitation will be called off at 12pm on Thursday, but only after they receive the final copy of the government’s revised proposal accepting their demands.
The following were the demands of the protesting farmers:
1. Withdrawal of all the agitation-related cases registered during this protest in all states and Union territories, or under central government agencies, etc.
2. Compensation to all the families of the agitating farmers who died during the course of agitation.
3. No criminal liability to farmers in the cases of stubble burning.
4. The government has to discuss the Electricity Amendment Bill with the SKM or with other farmers' unions before bringing it up in Parliament.
5. A committee to discuss minimum support price (MSP) is to be formed; the SKM will list out their members in the panel and provide it to the farmers.
6. The ongoing policy on MSP and its procurement in the country will continue as it is.
The consensus to call off the farmers' protests was reached after the central government agreed to take back all cases registered during the farm agitation and for stubble burning. According to the protesting farmers, the government has also assured that it will table the Electricity Amendment Bill only after consultation with the SKM or relevant farmers' unions.
Moreover, the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh state governments, along the lines of Punjab, have also agreed to provide a compensation of ₹5 lakh and a job to the kin of deceased farmers. Finally, the demand to include only SKM leaders in the MSP committee – apart from officials from the states, Centre, and agricultural experts – has also been met.
Earlier, the farmers were also demanding that Union minister Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish has been tried in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, be sacked. However, judging by the last demand proposal sent to the Centre, the SKM's five-member panel had removed that point.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 19 that the central government will bring necessary bills in the winter session of Parliament to repeal the farm laws. He had also assured that the government will be constituting a committee to work on a new framework for MSP.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill on the first day of the winter session on November 29. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill, which completed the process of repealing the three farm laws.
The farmers had been protesting against the farm laws on various borders of Delhi since November 26, 2020.