03 Feb 2021: Don't make farmers' protest another Shaheen Bagh: Centre tells Opposition
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre urged the Opposition not to turn the ongoing farmers' agitation into "another Shaheen Bagh," while adding that the reforms were passed in the Parliament after many deliberations.
Moving the motion of thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind's address, BJP's Bhubaneswar Kalita asserted that the government respects farmers and has kept the door open for discussions.
Protests: Protesters, mostly women, took over Shaheen Bagh in 2019
It was perhaps for the first time in the ongoing Budget session that the government mentioned farmers' protest and the Shaheen Bagh sit-in agitation together.
To recall, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which seeks to give Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from three neighboring nations, had triggered the Shaheen Bagh protest in December 2019.
The protest finally ended in March over coronavirus transmission fears.
Protest: Agitating farmers demanded repeal of laws, refused to leave
Following the Shaheen Bagh model, farmers, miffed with three farm laws, decided to stage a sit-in at the borders of Delhi in November.
The agitation has been continuing unabated; farmers have declared they won't move until the laws are repealed.
While the Centre didn't express willingness to talk with the Shaheen Bagh protesters, it has held discussions with the farmers' groups 11 odd times.
Parliament: Farmers' protest was discussed in Parliament, Centre defended laws
From Delhi's gates, the protest, unsurprisingly, made to the Parliament. Yesterday, the Centre defended the police crackdown on farmers and today said that the laws were passed after due process.
Amid chaos orchestrated by the Opposition, Kalita claimed small farmers would benefit from the laws. "The government has given new rights to farmers," he said.
Another BJP member, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, concurred.
Appeal: He said government is always ready for discussions with farmers
Kalita highlighted that Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal have held several rounds of discussions with the farmers.
"The door is always open for farmers so that this issue of farm laws can be resolved amicably. The government is ready to discuss all issues concerning it, but my appeal to our friends, please don't make it another Shaheen Bagh," he said.
Assam: Kalita is certain BJP will return to power in Assam
Kalita, who won a Rajya Sabha seat from Assam, also spoke about anti-CAA protests.
He claimed critics of CAA formed new parties in Assam but expressed confidence that they would be defeated in the upcoming Assembly polls.
"The BJP alliance will win and return to power in Assam," Kalita, who joined BJP in 2019 after snapping ties with Congress, declared.