Farmers Express Respect For Supreme Court, But Refuse To Appear Before Panel

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Hours after the Supreme Court of India criticised the Centre for the way the farmers agitation was handled, the protesting farmers said in a statement that it won't appear before a panel set up by the top court and only wanted a repeal of the three contentious farm laws.

"While all organisations welcome the suggestions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court to stay the implementation of the farm laws, they are collectively and individually not willing to participate in any proceedings before a committee that may be appointed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court," the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said in a statement.

The statement said that all the organisations of farmers "express great respect for Hon'ble Supreme Court for it's understanding of the problem and comforting words expressed during the hearing today".

Also read: 'Don't Want Blood on Our Hands': What SC, Govt Said on Farm Laws Explained in 10 Points

"Looking to the attitude and approach of the Govt which made it clear before the court today repeatedly that they will not agree to the discussion for repeal before the committee," the statement said.

The farmers said this in a statement after the court told the Centre earlier in the day that it was "disappointed" in the way that the crisis was handled.

The farmers said that they were unanimous in their decision to not want to appear before a panel. "...we met our lawyers this evening at length and after deliberation on pros and cons of the suggestions of to the committee, we informed them that we are unanimously not agreeable to go before any committee. That may be appointed by Hon'ble Supreme Court today due to stubborn attitude of the government"

The Centre, meanwhile, approached the Supreme Court seeking an injunction on an alleged tractor rally the farmers are planning on Republic Day. The Centre told court "It is submitted that the proposed march is slated to disturb and disrupt the august celebrations of nation on Republic Day and would be bound to create a massive law and order situation," the application said. "It is submitted that the said proposed march/protest seeks to disrupt and disturb such celebrations which is bound to create a serious law and order situation and will cause an embarrassment to the nation," it said.

However, farmers’ groups represented by Dushyant Dave had informed the court that there were no plans to disrupt 26 January celebrations or cause any law and order situation through a tractor march. Dave had told the Supreme Court, “Many farmer leaders are former jawans and retired army personnel. How can we disrupt the Republic Day celebrations.” He requested the court to allow farmers to go to Ramlila maidan for protests.