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Farmers' protest | Government-farmers committee will be fruitful only after repeal of agriculture laws, say farmer groups on Supreme Court proposal

Farmers raising slogans during a protest against new farm laws at Ghazipur, near Delhi on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Farmer leaders welcomed the Supreme Court’s observations on Wednesday as a “moral victory” but added that setting up a new committee would not resolve their concerns. They also sent an official rejection of the Centre’s proposals to amend the three contentious farm laws, vowing to continue their agitation until the laws are repealed.

Noting that talks between the Centre and the farm leaders had broken no ground and were bound to fail, the apex court proposed setting up a committee of farmer leaders from across the country. Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi for the last three weeks.

 

“The Supreme Court advice to the government is a moral victory for farmers,” said a statement from the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, one of the protesting farmers groups. However, it said: “Committee formation will be fruitful only after the laws are withdrawn and the representatives of all national and regional farmers’ organisations are represented in a decisive manner and should therefore be done only after repeal of the Acts.”

Several farm leaders refused to comment until they had seen a copy of the SC order, but others seemed to reject the proposal. In private, they expressed fear that the petition in the SC had been stage-managed by the government to end the protests.

“The SC can and must decide on the constitutionality of the three farm acts. But it is not for the judiciary to decide on the feasibility and desirability of these laws. That’s between the farmers and their elected leaders. SC-monitored negotiation would be a wrong path,” said Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav in a tweet. “This amounts to resurrecting a proposal made by the government on December 1 which farmers organisations had rejected unanimously.”

 

“Setting up a new committee by the court is not a solution,” said Abhimanyu Kohar, spokesperson for the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, adding that a committee of farm unions have already been engaging in several rounds of talks with the Government.

Earlier in the morning, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, representing protesting farmers groups, officially rejected the Centre’s written proposal for amendments in the three laws, through an email sent to the Agriculture Ministry. Their official response came one week after the Centre's written proposal was sent.

The email noted that the farmers movement had already verbally rejected the proposal and also communicated it in multiple rounds of discussion. “We want the government to stop maligning the movement and stop parallel negotiations with other farmer organisations,” said the email, signed by Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal, on behalf of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha. It was sent after Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told journalists that the Centre was yet to receive any response from the farmers movement.

On Wednesday, Mr. Tomar was in Gwalior addressing a “kisan sammelan” or farmers gathering organised by the BJP. He claimed that the farmers of Punjab are being misled, and confusion is being created among them. “However, millions of farmers are supporting the agrarian reforms. Farmers are eager to use these laws, so the Congress and some other Opposition parties are creating a deadlock,” he added, according to an official statement.

Mr. Tomar also said the NDA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was ready to diagnose every problem of farmers within 24 hours. “But there are those who think that under the guise of farmers, they will stop decisions taken in the national interest and will tarnish the image of our leader. If they try, they should know that we will also answer.”

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 11:28:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-protest-group-sends-email-rejecting-centres-proposed-changes-to-farm-laws/article33342788.ece

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