Farmers, govt standoff continues as talks in limbo on day 21: All you need to know
In a grim standoff with government, thousands of farmers have continued their protest against three contentious farm laws for three weeks now even as northern India stares at a cold wave. On Wednesday, the protesting farmers said constituting a new panel to break the stalemate on the three new agri laws is not a solution as they want a complete withdrawal of the legislations.
Government should have formed a committee of farmers and others before the laws were enacted by Parliament, the union said.
Here are the key developments from day 21 of the protest:
- Unable to bear ‘farmers’ plight’, Sikh cleric shoots himself dead
A Sikh preacher supporting the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s agriculture laws allegedly committed suicide near the Singhu border in Delhi on Wednesday, police said. A handwritten note in Punjabi, purportedly left behind by the deceased, says he was unable to bear the “pain of farmers”.
The note is being verified by police.
- Supreme Court seeks Centre’s reply on pleas seeking removal of protesting farmers from Delhi borders
The Supreme Court Wednesday issued a notice to the Centre and others on a batch of petitions seeking removal of farmers camping at several roads near Delhi borders in protest against the three new agri laws.A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde, and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian also indicated that the court may form a committee having representatives of the government and the farmer unions across the country to resolve the deadlock over the legislations.
- Stop holding parallel talks with other farmer bodies: Protesting farmer unions to govt
An umbrella body of 40 farmer unions protesting against the new agri laws wrote to the Centre on Wednesday, asking it to stop holding “parallel talks” with other farmer bodies over the contentious legislations.
In a letter to Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal, the Morcha said the Centre should also stop “defaming” the ongoing protests being held at several Delhi border points against the three farm laws.
- Centre being “stubborn” in face of farmers’ agitation: Delhi minister
The Centre should give up its “ego” and “stubbornness” and accept the demands of farmers who are protesting against the new farm laws at Delhi’s borders despite the biting cold, the city’s Development minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday.
Rai, also convener of the Delhi unit of the AAP, said the Arvind Kejriwal-led government and his party stand firmly with the farmers and have been making certain arrangements for them during their protest.
- Security beefed up at Chilla border
Security arrangements were tightened at the Chilla border between Delhi and Noida on Wednesday as farmer union leaders have threatened to completely block the key border point to press for repeal of the Centre’s new farm laws.
A senior police officer said elaborate security measures are already in place at the Chilla border. Multi-layered barricades, jersey barriers and additional security personnel have been deployed to ensure law and order.
- Puri appeals to protesting farmers to resume talks with Centre
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday appealed to protesting farmers to resume talks with the central government to discuss their “genuine” demands, saying this is not the time to remain “adamant”.
“We are ready to hold talks with them (farmers) to discuss their genuine demands. We are ready to find a solution of this problem, but it is necessary that the farmer brothers join the talks again and put forth their points face to face,” he said.
- Farm laws row can be solved in 5 minutes if PM steps in: Sanjay Raut
The issues flagged by agitating farmers can be solved in five minutes if Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself steps in, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Wednesday. Raut said the BJP-led NDA government should have a dialogue with the farmers who are protesting for the last 21 days outside Delhi demanding scrapping of the Centre’s three new agri-marketing laws.
- Farmers’ protest a planned conspiracy by Opposition: Gujarat BJP chief
BJP’s Gujarat unit president C R Paatil on Wednesday alleged that the ongoing agitation by farmers on the Delhi borders was a planned conspiracy by the opposition parties to create anarchy in the country and to destabilise it.
Paatil, a BJP MP from Navsari Lok Sabha constituency in Gujarat, said Congress was in favour of these farm sector reforms when it was in power before 2014.
- At Tikri boder, widows, sisters, mothers of farmers join protest
Several family members, including widows, mothers and sisters, of Punjab farmers who committed suicide due to rising debt, joined the protesters at Tikri border on Wednesday.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and elsewhere have been protesting near various border points of Delhi, including Singhu and Tikri, for over a fortnight demanding that the Centre repeal three new farm laws.
- Modi govt continuously working for farmers’ benefits: Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the Narendra Modi government is continuously working for the interests of the country’s farmers. In a tweet in Hindi, he said the Modi government has taken another major decision and approved an assistance of Rs 3,500 crore for sugarcane farmers.
Shah expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Modi for this decision, which will benefit five crore sugarcane farmers, their families and five lakh workers associated with the sector.