They have been vocal for farm laws: Farmer unions reject Supreme Court committee

We never asked for a committee; neither did we ask for the court’s intervention, they said

By Shagun
Published: Tuesday 12 January 2021
Swaraj Abhiyaan leader Yogendra Yadav on January 12, 2021. Photo: Swaraj Abhiyaan / Twitter

Farmer unions at a press conference January 12, 2021 rejected the committee appointed by the Supreme Court to help solve the farm law controversy, claiming all four members had supported the laws in the past. 

The Supreme Court, in the earlier part of the day, had announced the formation of the committee to examine the concerns of farmer unions and hold talks between them and the Centre.

The members are Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist; Pramod Joshi, director (South Asia), International Food Policy Research Institute; Anil Dhanvat, president, Shetkari Sangathan, Maharashtra and Bhupinder Singh Mann of the Bhartiya Kisan Union.

“All the four members have been vocal in support of the laws. They have written articles in the press justifying the farm laws. Hence, we can’t accept this committee,” Balbir Singh Rajewal of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) (Rajewal), said during the conference in the later part of the day. 

“We are of the view that the formation of such committees is a tactic by the government to divert attention and take off the pressure it is in,” he added.

Jagmohan Singh of BKU Ekta (Dakaunda) said even if the Supreme Court made amendments in the membership of the committee, the unions would not go in front of it. 

“A committee means freezing our issues in cold storage. We are here for an indefinite time and will win this fight in a peaceful way,” he said. 

Another leader said the laws were made by the Centre and not the Supreme Court. “Our fight is with the Centre. We don’t want the onus to shift from the government to the court,” he said.

Farmer leaders also reiterated that they would continue with the tractor rally January 26, against which, the Delhi Police has filed an application. 

“We didn’t get a notice yet on the petition in court against our parade. We will see what to do after we receive it,” Singh said. 

They also condemned “projections” that farmers were going to cause trouble on Republic Day.

“I want to reiterate that the programme will be completely peaceful. A false narrative is being created that we are going to capture Red Fort or Parliament like an enemy country. These irresponsible actions can’t be of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha. We will release the outline of our programme after January 15,” Rajewal said. 

He added the farmer unions had never demanded a committee and they were also not a party to the petitions in the apex court. 

“This is being done by the government. We were dragged into this after the government issued a notice to eight of our unions on the petitions in the court. But we are not going to fall into the trap,” he claimed. 

However, the leaders welcomed the stay on the laws and the court’s recognition of their right to protest. 

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