‘Repeal farm laws today’: message from farmers to government ahead of talks
Steadfast in repealing three controversial farm laws, farm union leaders reiterated their emphatic demand on Friday to seek repeal of the laws ahead of their eighth round of talks with the government.
“There is no scope for clause talks. The government should hold a meeting to repeal these laws today, “Balvinder Singh Raju, a farmer, told the ANI news agency on Friday.
As a sign of hope, Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson for the Bharatiya Kisan Union, said: “We are going to engage in talks in the hope that there will be a resolution today.”
The eighth round of talks between three Union ministers – Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash – and farmers’ unions to end the month-long unrest is scheduled to begin at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi at 2 pm. Tomar is likely to ask Union Interior Minister Amit Shah to discuss the issue before talks begin, the ANI news agency reported.
So far, farmers and the government have engaged in seven rounds of talks to end the stalemate, but to an inconclusive basis. Thousands of farmers have been camping on the borders of Delhi amid freezing cold as a declaration of protest against the three agricultural laws passed by Parliament in September last year.
Another agricultural union leader said they hope for the best but are prepared for the worst. “The minister declared yesterday categorically that the repeal of the agricultural laws is not accepted. I don’t know what will happen during today’s discussions. Anyway, we hope for the best and we prepare for the worst, ”said Hannan Mollah, All India Secretary General Kisan Sabha.
The Union’s minister of state for agriculture, Kailash Choudhury, expected a resolution to come out of Friday’s meeting. Speaking to PTI, Choudhury said: “I am hopeful that a resolution will be reached at the meeting on Friday. We could have ended the stalemate if the protesting farmers’ unions had discussed the issues raised at the first meeting. ” There was no demand for repeal of the three farm laws at the first meeting, he added.
The protests, Independent India’s longest demonstration in decades, have entered week seven and show no signs of abating, as farmers have refused to stop until their demands are met. Basically, the laws change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a decades-old network of government markets, allowing traders to stock essential commodities for future sales and establish a national framework for contract farming.
These laws are the Agricultural Products Trade and Trade (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Guarantee and the Agricultural Services Act of 2020 and the Essential Products (Amendment) Act. 2020.
Farmers claim that these laws will benefit large corporations. However, the government has tried to allay these fears and has even said that it is willing to discuss changes to the law. The government has made it clear that it will not remove these laws.