‘Will discuss how agitation moves forward’: BKU’s Rakesh Tikait on key SKM meeting today
Some key decisions regarding the future course of action about the ongoing farmers’ protest are likely to be decided during a meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of several farmer unions, to be held on Saturday. The meeting comes as the Union government has taken back the three contentious farm laws by passing the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, in Parliament during the ongoing Winter Session.
The farmers have said that the repeal was only one among several of their demands, including a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP).
Rakesh Tikait, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), said that the meeting would mainly discuss how the demonstrations would move further. “Our demand for MSP is from the Government of India. The talks have just started, we will see how it goes. We won't develop any strategies today, we will only discuss how the agitation moves forward,” news agency ANI quoted Tikait as saying.
The comment from Tikait came after a meeting between Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and farmer leaders from the state on Friday. “Talks between Haryana CM and farmers yesterday remained inconclusive, although they have agreed to take back the cases registered against farmers. Like Punjab, we need state-wise compensation for deaths of farmers and employment,” Tikait said about this meeting.
The farmers met Khattar with a list of demands that included the withdrawal of cases against the farmers who took part in the protests, compensation and a government job to the families of those that lost their lives during the protests and space for setting up a memorial at Kundli border. However, the farmer leaders after the meeting said that it remained inconclusive with no guarantee or agreement of any kind reached with the CM regarding the demands.
Following the meeting, Gurnam Singh Chaduni, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni), said that the farmers would decide the next course of action during the SKM’s meeting on the day. “The net result after our talks is that there was no agreement reached on our demands,” news agency PTI quoted him as saying.
“We did not get a satisfactory reply from the government. Talks broke down and the rest we will decide in tomorrow's SKM meeting,” he added.
On November 28, the SKM called off a planned tractor march to Parliament on November 29 and said that it would wait until December 4 for the Union government to formally respond to its demands, which it had stated in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had urged the protesting farmers to return to their homes after the repeal of the farm laws. During the Winter Session, Tomar also informed the Lok Sabha that the Centre had no record of the number of farmers who died during the protests and the question of giving financial aid or compensation to their families “does not arise.”