Solution to farmers' protest only through dialogue, says Rakesh Tikait
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday said the solution to the ongoing farmers' protest against the Centre's three agri laws can be reached only through dialogue and not in the courts.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson was speaking during an online discussion hosted by the Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad (Indian Students Parliament), Pune, a non-political platform.
Several trains were cancelled, highways and key roads blocked and many thousands stranded for hours on Monday as a nationwide 10-hour shutdown against the Centre's three agri laws disrupted lives across parts of India, particularly in the north.
Tikait said the 10-month-long protest, under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), is to prevent 'roti' from becoming a market commodity, and privatisation of the agriculture sector.
"I don't know what is going to be the end of this protest but the movement has begun and the country's youth, who often remained away from discussion on farming-related issues, is also joining it," he said.
In response to a query on the way forward, the BKU leader said, "The solution to the ongoing protests against the three agri laws of the Centre can be achieved only through dialogue and not in the courts of law."
He said the farmers' stir is not only against the three laws and for legal guarantee on the minimum support price for crops but also against privatisation of agriculture.
Referring to a leading multinational fast food chain, Tikait claimed, "When these stores close their work at the end of the day, they have plenty of unsold food which goes to the dustbins. There could be hungry staff or poor people outside their shops, but the unsold food goes to the dustbin only."
Hitting out at the BJP-led Centre, he alleged that the government has now "illegally" captured "several institutions" which the country has also understood now.
Speaking at the session earlier in the day, BJP MLA and Deputy Speaker in the Assam Assembly Dr. Numal Momin said the new laws are aimed at checking middlemen in the farming sector and benefitting both farmers and consumers.
He said the growth of farmers was important for the country's growth and some people opposed to the new laws now might realise their benefits eventually.
"PM Modi brought these laws to end the middlemen from the farming system. Also, the benefits, which earlier went to middlemen, would be passed on to consumers,” Momin said.
"It would take some time for some people to realise the benefits of these laws. Opposition to these laws is understandable. It's a democracy and some people who have some objections on some points are opposing the laws," he added.
Hundreds of farmers have been camping at Delhi's three border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- since November 2020 under the banner of SKM, demanding that the three contentious farm laws be repealed and a legal guarantee provided to them on MSP of crops.
Tikait has been leading the charge with his supporters at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border.
The Centre, which has held 11 rounds of formal dialogues with the farmers, has maintained that the new laws are pro-farmer.