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Opinion

Interior Minister Amit Shah will meet farmers today at 7pm

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Interior Minister Amit Shah invited a group of protesting farmers to a meeting at 7 pm Tuesday, said two agricultural union leaders who will attend the meeting.

The meeting, which will likely take place at Shah’s residence, comes a day before a crucial round of talks between the agricultural unions and the government, the sixth time the two sides will meet to resolve a crisis sparked by an array of agrarian reform laws. approved by Parliament in September.

Tens of thousands of farmers are protesting a set of market-friendly farm laws with a nationwide shutdown from 11 am to 3 pm on Tuesday. The main opposition parties have supported his call to strike. Farmers have been stocking up for months of supplies, preparing to dig for months on the New Delhi borders.

“The interior minister’s office sent a message. We will know it. Efforts to resolve farmers’ protests continue. Our bandh today has been successful and peaceful, ”said Rakesh Tikait, leader of the Tikait faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, a farmers’ union.

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“One of the problems we will raise is the arrest of several farmers in and around Delhi, including Karol Bagh. We will urge the Interior Minister to comply with our demands on the three agricultural laws, ”said Shiv Kumar Sharma Kakaji of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, a farmers’ organization.

Although previous rounds of discussions led by agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar have shown no signs of ending the stalemate, the interior minister has been speaking informally with farmers’ representatives to facilitate a solution.

The first round of talks was facilitated by several rounds of phone conversations between Shah and key agricultural union leaders, which took place on December 1.

Farmers want the Narendra Modi government to repeal three laws passed by Parliament in September. The laws essentially change the way Indian farmers do business by creating free markets to compete with a network of government-controlled agricultural markets.

The government has relied on a reform agenda to reform India’s antiquated agriculture. Deregulation of agricultural markets will pave the way for more competition and better prices, the government has said.

Farmers say the reforms would make them vulnerable to exploitation by large corporations, erode their bargaining power and stop the government from buying basic goods at guaranteed prices.

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