Eastern Times: November 27, 2020, New Delhi: Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar requested farmers towards Delhi, to end their protest against the new central laws, on Friday, offering talks next week, even as the police continued to fire tear gas and water cannons in a second day of clashes over the march to New Delhi.
“The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers. We have invited farmers’ organisations for another round of talks on 3rd December.
I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of COVID-19 and winter,” Mr Tomar told the media.
After two days of face-offs, authorities allowed the farmers, some of whom threw stones and broke barricades, to enter the capital under police escort to stage a demonstration against agricultural reforms they fear will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
Farmers groups have castigated the agriculture ministers’ assertion about talks with farmers on December 3, saying the Centre has “no declared agenda to discuss with the farmers. Farmers are clear about their agenda which is that the three Acts and Electricity Bill 2020 have to go.”
If the Centre has any stand on this, it should state so, the farmers have demanded. “If not, it should not create any confusion about talks.
Question of talks is to befool the rest of the country and those who are not fully acquainted with the issues.
If the central government declares so, then an atmosphere for talks can be created in which all farmers’ organization will participate,” it AIKSCC clarified in a written statement.
The farmers have been upset with the laws passed earlier this year which mean they are now free to sell their produce to anyone at any price, instead of to state-controlled markets at assured rates. They say the new laws deregulating the vast agriculture sector will leave small growers vulnerable to corporate agri-businesses and could lead to a withdrawal of price supports for staples like wheat and rice.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by AIKSCC on Friday afternoon said, the government “had to surrender to the will and resolve of farmers of India, to march into the National Capital, to voice their demands, and express their resistance against the 3 black central farm laws.”
The Union home ministry has finalised the Nirankari Grounds in Burari for farmers’ protest and has allowed free passage of farmers into Delhi, the statement said adding that “This is as per the assertion of farmers that they have a right to come to the Capital of the nation to air their grievances.”
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha formed to coordinate the “Dilli Chalo” call, of which AIKSCC is a constituent, has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for permission to the farmers in Delhi and to make arrangements for their comfortable stay, according to AIKSCC.
The farmers have grievances against the Centre for having passed three pro-corporate, pro-MNC farm laws and the proposed Electricity Bill 2020, detrimental to their existence and future, the press statement said. The Centre should allow democratic assertion by India’s farmers and welcome its citizens and listen to them, the statement demanded.
“Several thousand farmers from Punjab and Haryana have started reaching the borders of Delhi since today morning.
While RSS–BJP government unleashed inhuman water cannoning in this bitter cold and tear-gassed farmers, farmers have shown exemplary discipline and restraint in peacefully pushing ahead to Delhi,” the statement said giving details of how “roads have been dug up by administration to prevent farmers from travelling but farmers have filled up the ditches with their own hands.”
This is a ditch that the government has dug for itself in fact, the statement said.
According to the AIKSCC statement, Haryana farmers are already joining the Punjab farmers in large numbers. Massive numbers are moving along Punjab to Delhi routes and Delhi should see an inflow of lakhs of farmers into Delhi by tomorrow, including from Uttar Pradesh and other states.
There are huge protests being organized in West UP today in Hapur, a highway blockade at Bagarpur checkpost on Delhi Moradabad highway, in Muzaffarnagar, in Sambhal and in Rampur.
Rampur farmers have been obstructed in their movement to Delhi and the stand-off continues with farmers pressing to be allowed. Large numbers of farmers from other districts of UP too are expected to move in from tomorrow onwards.
On Friday morning, women, students, trade union activists and democratic organizations held a protest at Jantar Mantar in support of the farmers’ demands.