Govt says 86 cases against farmers withdrawn; unions say 8k pending
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a platform of farm unions protesting the laws, had agreed to withdraw their year-long agitation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 19, 2021 that the three laws to liberalise agricultural markets would be scrapped.
The home ministry has agreed to withdraw 86 cases lodged against farmers during the 2021 protests and, separately, railway authorities are in the process of cancelling all first information reports against them, the Union government stated in Rajya Sabha Friday.
A top farm union leader HT spoke to said that there were more than 8000 cases under various sections of the penal code pending against farmers who took part in the massive 12-month-long agitation against a set of agricultural laws , which were later repealed by the Centre.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a platform of farm unions protesting the laws, had agreed to withdraw their year-long agitation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 19, 2021 that the three laws to liberalise agricultural markets would be scrapped. The agriculture ministry had also given a written assurance to the SKM that all cases against the protesters, barring those that relate to grievous offences, would be cancelled.
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“As per the inputs received from Ministry of Home Affairs, 86 no. of cases against farmers for withdrawal have been received and concurred with. Further, the Ministry of Railways has issued direction for the withdrawal of all cases registered by Railway Protection Force (RPF) during the farmers’ agitation,” agriculture minister Narendra Tomar said in a written reply.
The agitation against the three laws had widened into a full-scale campaign against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by influential farm unions from food-bowl states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. This forced the government to rescind 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 Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
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“The agriculture secretary had given in writing that all cases would be withdrawn. They are saying only 86 cases have been withdrawn when there are between 8,000-1,0000 cases still pending. These farmers are being constantly harassed. The government has cheated,” said Gurnam Singh Chaduni, one of the leaders of the protest movement.
The minister in his reply also stated that the government, according to its assurance, had constituted a committee in July, 2022 to promote natural farming, change crop patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the country and to make minimum support prices more effective and transparent.
“The meetings of the Committee are being held on regular basis to deliberate on the subject matters assigned to it,” the minister stated.