Farmers’ protest Highlights: ‘Hoping we will come to conlusion in next round of talks,’ says agri minister after meeting with farmers
In their seventh attempt to end the logjam over the three farm laws, ministers representing the central government and 40 farm union leaders held talks in Delhi on Monday. Two key demands of the farmers are expected to be on the table for consideration by the government.
Upping the ante, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the platform of farm unions, has said that thousands of farmers will drive into the Capital on their tractors to hold their own Republic Day parade if their demands are not met by January 26. The Republic Day – an event of global importance – is scheduled to be attended by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Meanwhile, a 70-year-old farmer, who was part of the agitation against the farm laws at UP Gate in Ghaziabad, allegedly died by suicide in a portable toilet near the protest site on Saturday. Forty-seven people have died so far at various protest sites since the farmers began their agitation against three contentious farm laws passed by Parliament in September last year, national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Rakesh Tikait has said.
Despite rains and the ongoing cold wave across North India, farmers agitating against the Centre’s farm laws stood strong at the borders of the national capital and continued their protest for the last 39 days.
Why are the farmers protesting?
In one of the largest strikes in decades witnessed by India, the farmers are demanding that the Centre revokes the three contentious laws. The laws essentially change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a network of decades-old, government marketplaces, allowing traders to stockpile essential commodities for future sales and laying down a national framework for contract farming.
These laws are 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.
Here are the latest updates:
8:30pm: Assembly session to be convened to pass resolution against farm laws: Bengal CM
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said arrangements would soon be made to convene an assembly session to pass a resolution against the contentious legislations.
7:01pm: We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn: Farmers’ union
“Discussion took place on our demands -- repeal of the three laws and MSP... Kannon wapasi nahi, to ghar wapasi nahi (We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn),” Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union said after the meeting.
6:29 pm: Hope we will reach conclusion in next round of talks: Tomar
“Looking at today’s discussion, I hope that we will have a meaningful discussion during our next meeting and we will come to a conclusion,” said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
6:00 pm: Talks with farmers end; no breakthrough
The seventh round of talks ended without any conclusion. Next meeting is scheduled for January 8.
4: 44 pm: Govt rules out rollback of farm laws, no breakthrough in 7th round of talks with farmers
The government remained firm on their stand on farm laws as it refused to take back contentious farm laws. Instead, the union minister asked the union leaders to point out what they considered objectionable in the legislation.
3:58: SC accepts petition against Haryana police for using water cannons on farmers
The Supreme Court accepted a letter petition sent to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde by a group of students from Punjab seeking an inquiry against Haryana Police for using water cannons, tear gases shells on farmers to stop them from proceeding to Delhi.
The students wrote an open letter to the CJI and urged that Haryana and Delhi police withdraw all the cases against farmers which were registered under alleged political vendetta.
3:01 pm: Meeting begins with two minute silence for protesters who died during agitation
Union ministers and farmers observed a two minute silence to mark their tributes to the 50 farmers who died during the demonstration against the contentious farm laws.
2:39 pm:Seventh round of talks between the Centre and farmers’ representatives begins
Three union ministers including Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash arrived at Vigyan Bhawan for the talks. Farmers are being represented by a team of 41 union leaders.
2:15 pm: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweets in favour of farmers
12:49 pm: Farm leaders reach Vigyan Bhawan to meet ministers, talks begin shortly
11:58 am: Hope govt takes human approach, says farm union leader
Hannan Mollah,general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha ahead of today’s talks with govt said, “It is up to the government whether it wants to solve the farmers’ problems or conspire against the farmers to fizzle out their struggle. We hope government will take a human approach towards the farmers.”
11.26 am: Farmers unions reiterate demand for repeal of farm laws
Leaders of farmers unions on Monday reiterated that nothing less than the repeal of Central farm laws will be acceptable to them.
Ahead of the eighth-round of talks with the Central government over the issue, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson, Rakesh Tikait said, “Many issues are to be discussed today. The government must understand, the farmer has taken this movement to his heart and won’t consider less than the repeal of these laws. The government should implement Swaminathan’s report and make law on MSP.”
Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee’s Joint Secretary Sukhwinder S Sabra also threatened to hold a tractor march if the demands of the unions weren’t met.
10:55 am: Reliance Jio to move Punjab and Haryana HC
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, in a petition mentioned to be filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court today, has sought urgent intervention of Government authorities to bring a complete stop to illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants, said RIL.
These acts of violence have endangered the lives of thousands of its employees and caused damage and disruption to the vital communications infrastructure, sales and service outlets run by its subsidiaries in the two states, RIL said in a media statement.
10:45 am: Govt likely to discuss farm laws ‘clause by clause’ with farmers’ yet again
With the eighth-round of meeting between farmers’ unions and the Central government scheduled to take place today, the ‘clause by clause’ discussion on three farm laws is expected to take place between the two if farmers remain adamant on their demand to repeal the laws.
Sources in the government said that with two demands of farmers’ unions -- Repeal of the three farm laws and legalisation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) -- left unresolved, the Centre is likely to discuss farm laws clause by clause as it did initially before the MSP issue. The exercise was done by the government earlier to understand the objections of farmers against the laws.
10:11am: Delhi’s Chilla, Ghazipur borders remain partially closed
The Ghazipur and Chilla borders connecting Delhi to Ghaziabad and Noida continue to remain partially blocked on Monday with only one carriageway open for those leaving Delhi. At both the borders, traffic going towards Delhi was diverted, with farmers blocking one carriageway as their agitation against three new farm bills continue