All-party meet demands withdrawal of Centre's farm laws

·4-min read

Chandigarh, Feb 2 (PTI) An all-party meeting convened by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday demanded immediate withdrawal of the three farm laws while holding the BJP-led central government responsible for a “substantial delay” in resolving the crisis.

Terming the violence during the tractor rally on Republic Day in Delhi as “sponsored”, the meeting also demanded a judicial probe into the “laxity and complicity” of those responsible for maintaining peace at the Red Fort.

The meeting also decided to send an all-party delegation to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and raise various issues relating to farmers' agitation.

While the BJP boycotted the meeting, the Aam Aadmi Party walked out over their demand for deployment of the Punjab police personnel to protect farmers protesting at Delhi borders.

The Congress, SAD, Lok Insaaf Party, SAD (Democratic), BSP, CPI and CPI (M) attended the meeting, a government release said.

Amarinder had called the meeting to evolve a consensus on the way forward on the issue of the farm laws and the farmers' agitation.

Representatives of all parties appreciated the position taken by the farmers' unions and the meeting passed a resolution to this effect.

Accusing miscreants of seeking to sabotage the “historic and unparallel” farmer agitation through untoward incidents at the Red Fort on the Republic Day, the resolution said these acts “are truly condemnable and need to be probed thoroughly.

These incidents, however, should not be made a pretext to victimize agitating farmers, farmworkers and others, including the media persons, the resolution said.

It also called upon the central government “to take steps to ensure that the farmers and farmworkers participating in the agitation are not victimized in any manner.” Through the resolution, the Punjab parties asked the Centre “to withdraw all cases registered against farmers, farmworkers, journalists and other peaceful agitators and release all those detained by the police or any other agency'.

The missing agitators should also be traced and restored to their respective families without any delay, they said.

During the farmers' tractor rally on January 26 n Delhi, thousands of tractor-borne protesters had trampled police barricades on roads, clashed with police and hoisted a religious flag at the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.

The resolution also called upon the Centre “to make the Minimum Support Price a statutory right of the farmers.

The resolution lauded farmer leader Rakesh Tikait for his contribution to the struggle and thanked Haryana farmers for their support to their Punjab counterparts in the agitation.

Amarinder Singh promised to look into SAD's Prem Singh Chandumajra's suggestion that the state government should provide loan waiver to the families of all those killed during the ongoing farmers' agitation.

The meeting got a host of suggestions from participants of all parties, ranging from an independent probe into the Red Fort violence to a joint meeting with the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister for their intervention for the resolution of the crisis, among others.

The meeting started with a two-minute silence to pay tributes to those who died during the agitation.

As of date, 88 farmers from Punjab have lost their lives in these protests, the chief minister said.

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar hit out at the central government over the situation prevailing at Delhi borders, pointing to Tuesday's photographs in the media about the Delhi police personnel standing with steel rods besides those of armed protectors, cemented roadblocks and spikes on roads.

Terming the images as 'appalling', he said these were reminiscent of the Chinese troops standing at the Galwan Valley.

What happened at the Red Fort was condemnable but it has to be investigated properly to identify and expose those responsible for the violence and for bringing a bad name to the farmers' agitation, he said.

Jakhar also ridiculed the Sangh Parivar for raising a hue and cry over the 'Nishan Sahib' at Red Fort, alleging that the RSS, which did not allow the national flag to fly over their headquarters for decades, was raising a ruckus now with the sole purpose of alienating Punjab.

AAP MP Bhagwant Mann suggested that representatives of all Punjab parties should jointly go and meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to put pressure on them.

SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said an independent commission should be set up, under a retired judge, to expose the “entire conspiracy” behind the Red Fort violence. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX