The farmers protesting against the contentious farm laws have called for a Bharat Bandh on December 8, adding that they have planned to block remaining roads of Delhi. Speaking to the media, farmer leader Harvinder Singh Lakhwal stated that the farmers will intensify their agitation against the farm laws if the Union government does not accept our demands in the meeting.
“On December 5, effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be burnt across the country,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Lakhowal) General Secretary, HS Lakhowal, speaking to the media at Singhu border. “We have given a call for Bharat Bandh on December 8,” he added.
Thousands of farmers are currently staying put at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. They have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations. They have also asked for a special Parliament session to be held to repeal the laws.
The Union government, which has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture, has agreed to some of the demands. Four rounds of talks between the farmers and the government have remained inconclusive. While the first two rounds of talks were with representatives of Punjab farmers, the third round saw participation from Haryana and two nationwide organisations also. The fourth round included representation from more states including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who has been leading the government side at the talks with farmers had told the media on Thursday that the next meeting will take place on Saturday, December 5, at 2 pm, which he hoped would take the matter to a decisive stage and towards a resolution.
He also said there is "no ego involved" and the government has agreed to "discuss and consider with an open mind" some major points of concerns among farmers about the three new laws, including on strengthening of the APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee) mandi system, tax parity with proposed private mandis and freedom for farmers to approach higher courts for any dispute resolution.
With PTI inputs