Protesting Farmers Call for Bharat Bandh; Today’s key talks – news from india
Farmers mobilizing against three farm laws on Friday announced a national strike, or Bharat Bandh, on December 8, where they said they will block all toll plazas and roads leading to Delhi while hardening their position before the fifth round. of conversations with the central government. scheduled for Saturday.
Four rounds of negotiations, carried out between three Union ministers and farmer representatives, have so far failed to break the deadlock between the two sides, as thousands of farmers continued their agitation just outside Delhi’s borders during eight consecutive days.
On Thursday, the Center agreed to review the recently enacted legislation and “table amendments” if necessary to address farmers’ demands. The farmers, however, stood their ground and said they did not want amendments to the new laws, but instead wanted them to be withdrawn entirely.
Peasant leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said on Friday that if the Center does not accept his demands during the fifth meeting on Saturday, it will further intensify its agitation.
“At our meeting today, we have decided to make a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call on December 8 during which we will also occupy all the toll plazas,” said Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union, one of the groups involved. in the negotiations. “We have planned to block all the roads leading to Delhi in the next few days if the new agricultural laws are not removed,” he said, at a news conference on the Singhu border connecting Delhi and Haryana.
“Yesterday (Thursday) we told the government that the agricultural laws should be withdrawn,” he told the press, adding that the peasants will burn government effigies and corporate houses on December 5 and that the athletes will return their medals in solidarity with the farmers on December 7. However, he did not disclose the details of the athletes who would return their medals.
The Bharat Bandh call was supported by several other farmers’ organizations. Hannan Mollah, Secretary General of All India Kisan Sabha, said: “We have to move this protest forward.”
The government, for its part, insisted that it was approaching the issue with an “open mind.” Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said after the talks that the government has no ego and was discussing the issues raised by farmers with an open mind. “The government will discuss the points that were raised at Friday’s meeting and hopes that the talks will move towards the end when the next round of discussions takes place on Saturday,” Tomar said.
The talks on Thursday were led by Tomar, the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Railways, Piyush Goyal, and the Minister of State for Commerce, Som Prakash, a legislator from Punjab, while representatives of some of the farmers’ unions more Large people from the country, mainly from Punjab, spoke for the farmers.
Tens of thousands of farmers took to the streets around Delhi again on Friday, forcing police to close most of the roads connecting the capital with neighboring satellite cities such as Gurugram and Noida.
While farmers want the three farm laws passed by Parliament in September repealed, the government has relied on its new reform agenda to increase farm incomes and stimulate investment in the sector.
Recent laws allow companies to freely trade agricultural products outside of the so-called government-controlled mandi system, allow private traders to store large quantities of commodities for future sales, and establish new rules for contract farming.
Farmers fear that the reforms could pave the way for the government to stop buying basic products at minimum support prices (MSP) set by the federal government, erode their bargaining power and leave them at the mercy of private buyers.