‘Will not do that’: Farmers' unions’ to Supreme Court on Jan 26 tractor march
Protesting farmers had announced they would take out a massive tractor march in Delhi on Republic Day to build pressure on the government to repeal the three farm laws.
Farmers protesting against the three farm laws will not take out their proposed tractor march in Delhi on Republic Day, senior advocate Dushyant Dave informed the Supreme Court on Monday. The comment by Dave, who is representing the farmers, came as the Supreme Court was hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the farm laws as well as the pleas to remove the protesters.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, who is representing the government in the top court, had brought up the issue of protesting farmers vandalising the venue of a pro-farm laws’ rally in Haryana’s Karnal on Sunday. The rally was to be addressed by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The ruckus led to Khattar cancelling it. “Yesterday, there was an unsavoury incident of violence at a protest site near Karnal. Now they (farmers) want to march their tractors to Rajpath on January 26,” Venugopal said.
“We don’t intend to protect the lawbreakers,” the top court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde responded, asking Dave why will the farmers take their tractors to Rajpath in the national capital.
“We will not do that,” Dave replied for farmers' unions. “The farmers have their family members in the security forces. They will not do that. I will not make a statement. There are 400 unions at the protest site. There are 150,000 farmers there.”
The Supreme Court had said earlier during the hearing that it is “extremely disappointed” with the way negotiations are being held between the Centre and the farmers on the three farm laws. "What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws," the bench told the Centre. "We are extremely disappointed at the way the government is handling the talks. What consultative process was followed by you before passing the laws? All are up in rebellion against the laws," it added.
With multiple rounds of talks with the Centre not yielding any result, the farmers' unions had announced a series of programmes earlier this month to build pressure on the government to repeal the laws. One of the steps announced by them was the said tractor march, which, they said, would see thousands of tractors enter Delhi on January 26 on Republic Day and “march” in the national capital parallel to the official celebrations. As a “trailer,” a tractor march was organised on January 7 on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway.
Monday marks Day 47 of the anti-farm law protests. Eight rounds of talks have taken place between the government and farmers' unions so far. The next round of talks will next take place on January 15.