Centre reiterates intention to have discussions clause by clause but farmer leaders refuse, leading to rescheduling
The four-hour-long seventh round of talks between the central government and farmer leaders at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi January 4, 2020 remained inconclusive yet again. Another meeting has been fixed for January 8.
The agenda of the meeting was to discuss the two foremost demands of the farmers — discussing modalities of repealing the laws and providing a legal guarantee on minimum support price.
These are two of the four items from the talks that resumed December 30. That is when the other two demands to by the Centre.
These were exclusion from penal provisions for burning stubble under the Commission for The Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 and changes in the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.
Monday was the 38th day of the protest by tens of thousands of farmers on the borders of Delhi.
During the meeting, the Centre reiterated its intention to have discussions clause by clause but farmer leaders refused. That is when the next meeting was fixed for January 8.
The discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters after the meeting. “But since farmers were adamant on the demand of repeal of the three laws, no decision could be reached,” he said. “I feel there will be a solution soon,” he added.
On the other hand, farmer leaders said the protest won’t stop till their demands are met. “We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn,” Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said.
“The government is under tremendous pressure. We all said this is our demand (repeal of the laws). We don’t want discussion on any other topic except for on repeal of the laws. Protests will not be withdrawn until repeal of laws,” Hannan Mollah, general secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, said.
During the meeting, Tomar, Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, along with government officials and farmer leaders, observed a two-minute silence for farmers who died during the ongoing protest.
So far, around 60 farmers have lost their lives during the protest, according to Tikait.
A seven-member coordination committee representing the Samyukta Kisan Morcha had issued an ultimatum to the central government January 2 to repeal the three controversial farm laws or face a series of protests and sit-ins.
These included a country-wide awareness campaign “to expose the government and its farm policies” and a tractor-trolley march in Delhi January 26 to observe a “Farmers’ Republic Parade Day”.
The protesters plan to burn copies of the three farm laws on the occasion of Lohri January 13.
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