Weren't allowed to meet farmers at Ghazipur border, Opposition MPs write to Lok Sabha Speaker

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) MPs from 10 Opposition parties on Thursday wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla saying that the situation at Ghazipur border was like that of India-Pakistan border and condition of farmers resembles prisoners in jail.

Fifteen MPs from these parties including SAD, DMK, NCP and Trinamool Congress were stopped by police from meeting the protesting farmers at Ghazipur border in the morning.

According to SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal who coordinated the visit, the leaders were not allowed to cross the barricades and reach the protest site.

Besides Badal, Supriya Sule from NCP, Kanimozhi and Tiruchi Siva from DMK and Saugata Roy from TMC were part of the delegation besides members of National Conference, RSP and IUML.

After Lok Sabha adjourned for the day, Opposition MPs including Sule and Roy met Birla and gave him the letter claiming they were not allowed to meet protesting farmers by police.

'The impression we got at the Delhi Ghazipur border is like the border between India and Pakistan. The condition of farmers resemble that of prisoners in jail,' they said in the letter.

Asking whether they are living in a 'police state', the MPs said despite elected representatives, they were not allowed to meet farmers' representatives.

During a discussion in Parliament on Thursday, several opposition parties asked the government to withdraw the three contentious farm laws without making it a prestige issue and not to treat the agitating farmers as 'enemies'.

Stringent security continued at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, one of the key protest sites where thousands of farmers are camping with a demand that the Centre repeal the new agri-marketing laws enacted last September.

The protesting farmers have expressed the apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture.

Eleven rounds of formal talks between the government and the protesting farmer unions have failed to break the deadlock. While unions have stuck to their main demand of repeal of the laws and legal guarantee of MSP, the government has offered some concessions including keeping these laws on hold for 1-1.5 years. Even the Supreme Court has stayed the laws for two months and set up a panel to look into the matter. PTI JTR ZMN