Farmers’ protest day 29: ‘Will take two steps if Centre takes one,’ say protesters, demand higher MSP | 10 points
The Centre had invited the protesting farmers for the sixth round of talks and asked them to fix a date according to their convenience. The farmers, in their meeting on Wednesday, decided that they won’t fix a date as they didn’t agree with the proposals that the agriculture minister sent. With this, the ongoing protest enters its 29th day on Thursday with no immediate solution at sight. However, for the first time, the farmers have raised the demand for a higher minimum support price than the existing one as the Centre has been reiterating its commitment to the system of MSP.
Here are the latest updates of the protest
1. No date for further talks has been decided, but the farmers have said that they are not averse to talks. They are waiting for the government to the table with an open mind. “If the Centre takes one step, farmers will take two,” they said.
2. The protesters have raised the demand of higher MSP in their letter to the Centre. “We request the government that instead of repeating your proposals and amendments, you should offer something concrete in writing so that we can make that the basis of our agenda to resume the dialogue process,” the letter stated.
3. The issue of MSP is at the heart of the present crisis. The new agriculture laws do not mention the MSP system in which the government buys farmers’ produce at a minimum price which provides a cushion to farmers. The Centre reiterated that the system is not being done away with. The ministry also agreed to amend the laws to clarify on MSP. But the farmers have said they don’t want amendments, they want a complete withdrawal of the laws.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent virtual address to Madhya Pradesh farmers said how the government increased the MSP from what it was before 2014. However, protesting farmers are not agreeing to the government’s MSP claim. Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait had earlier said farmers are not getting their prices which is leading to the incidents of suicide. Senior farmer leader Darshan Pal on Tuesday said though the government sets MSP for 23 commodities, it mainly buys wheat and rice at these prices.
5. The farmers, in its letter, has also mentioned that they don’t deserve to be treated like political rivals. Several Union ministers claimed that the protest has been hijacked by Maoists. Farmers will have to intensify their agitation if the government continues to treat them in that manner, the letter said.
6. As far as the ongoing protests are concerned, more and more farmers are likely to join the protest sites on the Delhi border in the coming days. Farmer union Kisan Sena said thousands of its members from western Uttar Pradesh will march to Delhi on Thursday.
7. The social media cell of the farmers’ collective earlier announced that they would hold a webinar on Thursday where veteran farmers will answer to queries related to the ongoing protest.
8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the next instalment of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi on December 25. The PM will also interact with farmers from six states.
9. Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday said solution can be reached only through dialogue. “History is witness to this fact. However old and strong the protest is, the end and the solution to a protest are reached through dialogue only,” he said.
10. Meanwhile, Haryana Police has registered a case against 13 farmers on various charges including attempt to murder and rioting after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s convoy was allegedly blocked and attacked on Tuesday in Ambala.