No surrender: Farmer unions refuse Centre’s proposal to ‘hold’ farm laws

Farmer unions say they will stop at nothing short of a repeal of laws; talks on tractor rally inconclusive  

By Shagun
Published: Thursday 21 January 2021
Farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal from the Bharatiya Kisan Union speaking to media after the talks.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint front of farmer unions protesting against the three contentious farm laws, January 21, 2021 rejected the Centre’s proposal of putting the laws on hold for one-and-a-half-years.

The decision was announced through a press statement on January 21 night after a general body meeting held between different unions during the day.

The government offered to put on hold the three contentious farm laws for one-and-a-half-years at the 10th round of meetings held January 20. A committee will deliberate on the laws during that period, the government had said. Farmer leaders had responded that they would study the proposal with other unions January 21 and get back.

Farmer leaders January 21 reiterated their demand of a full repeal of the acts and enacting a legislation for remunerative Minimum Support Price for all farmers.

“There are risks in accepting this proposal from the farmers’ point of view. The government attitude seems to be such that they want the protests to end and the farmers to get back to their villages. And the government’s proposal came after the Supreme Court order of suspending the law for two months,” Kiran Kumar Vissa, national group member, All India Kisaan Sangharsh Coordination Committee told Down To Earth.

“It is not something that the farmers see as a clear victory. If the government takes the same decision after one-and-a-half years, it will take a lot of effort to build a similar farmer movement again,” he added.

Another meeting between farmers and the Centre is scheduled for noon, January 22.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed committee on the stalemate regarding the laws held its first meeting with farmer unions January 21. The three members of the committee met with 10 unions from eight states — Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The next meeting with different unions will be held January 27.

A meeting between the unions and Delhi Police held on the afternoon  of January 21 regarding the proposed tractor rally on Republic Day, remained inconclusive as the former refused to accept the alternative route for the rally. 

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