Stop holding parallel talks with other farmer bodies: Protesting farmer unions to govt

·3-min read

New Delhi, Dec 16 (PTI) An umbrella body of 40 farmer unions protesting against the new agri laws at several Delhi border points on Wednesday asked the Centre to stop holding 'parallel talks' with other farmer bodies over the contentious legislations.

With the government saying that it is waiting for the reply of peasant leaders, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha said that there was no question of responding as the farmer unions had made their stand clear in the last round of meeting with Union ministers that they want the laws to be repealed.

In a letter to Union Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal, the Morcha said the Centre should also stop 'defaming' the ongoing protests being held against the farm laws.

The letter by the Morcha, which represents farmer bodies mostly from Punjab, comes against the backdrop of the government holding talks with several farmers' organisations from different states who the Centre claimed have extended their support to the new agriculture laws.

Earlier in the day, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the ongoing farmers' protest at Delhi borders is an 'exception' and 'limited to one state' and hoped for an early solution as the government is in talks with farmer unions.

'We want the government to stop defaming farmers' agitation and holding parallel talks with other farmers' organisations,' said Darshan Pal, a member of the 'Sankyukt Kisan Morcha', in his letter written in Hindi.

In his letter, Pal has also recorded in writing the farmer unions’ decision to reject a recent government proposal of amendments in the new laws.

'In reference to the proposal (dated December 9) and your (Agarwal) letter, we want to inform the government that farmer organisations held a joint meeting to discuss the proposal on the same day and rejected it,' he said.

'We had already made our stand clear in previous talks (with the government) that's why we did not send a written reply earlier,' Pal said.

Representatives of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Kisan) from Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday met Tomar and submitted a memorandum with suggestions on the laws and minimum support price (MSP).

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Kisan) has also decided to end for now its protest, which it was holding at district levels in Uttar Pradesh.

They have not been part of the 40 farmers' groups that have been protesting on various borders of the national capital, and they had also attended the recent rounds of talks with the Centre without any breakthrough.

According to an agriculture ministry statement on Tuesday, Tomar thanked the BKU (Kisan) leaders for coming out in support of the laws and said these legislations have been welcomed in various states across the country.

Earlier this week, a delegation of over 100 farmers from Uttarakhand had also met Tomar.

On Tuesday, the leaders of agitating farmers asserted they will “make” the Centre repeal the three new agri laws in a hardening of their stand.

Meanwhile, protesting farmer unions on Wednesday said constituting a new panel to break the stalemate on the three new agri laws, as indicated by the Supreme Court, is not a solution as they want a complete withdrawal of the legislations.

They also said the government should have formed a committee of farmers and others before the laws were enacted by parliament.

Their assertions came after the Supreme Court indicated earlier in the day that it may form a panel having representatives of the government and farmer unions to resolve the deadlock.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. PTI BUN RHL