Farm law protests: Farmers demand special Parliament session to repeal legislations
The demonstrators also accused the Centre of trying to sow discord among various farmer unions.
Leaders of farmer unions on Wednesday demanded that the government convene a special session of Parliament to abolish the contentious agricultural laws, and warned they would take more steps if the Centre fails to meet their demands, PTI reported.
“The Centre should call a special session of Parliament to repeal the three farm laws,” Krantikari Kisan Union President Darshan Pal said. He also called for burning of effigies throughout the country to protest against the Modi government and corporate houses on December 5.
Pal accused the Centre of trying to to sow discord among various farmer unions. “The government tried to show this is only the movement of farmers in Punjab,” he told reporters at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border, according to NDTV. “We have also decided farmer leaders from all over the country, not just Punjab, should be called for talks.”
Protests against the contentious farm laws completed a week on Wednesday as hundred and thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, blocked highways and hunkered down on the outskirts of Delhi. Their leaders have vowed to keep protesting for however long it takes for the Narendra Modi government to reverse the legislations, which they fear will reduce their earnings and give more power to corporations.
“We will have to take more steps if the Centre does not fulfil our demands,” farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni told PTI. “We will continue our agitation till the three farm laws are repealed.”
Lok Sangharsh Morcha member Pratibha Shinde, meanwhile, served an ultimatum and said the talks scheduled for December 3 will be the “last chance” for the government to take a decision to repeal the laws. “Otherwise this movement will become huge and the government will fall,” Shinde said, according to ANI.
The Centre has called for a fourth round of talks with the farmers on December 3, after the meeting between the government and over 30 union leaders on Tuesday failed to break the deadlock. During the discussion, the government offered to set up a committee to look into the concerns related to the laws. But the farmers turned down the idea, emphasising that their demand was “non-negotiable”.
32 farmer groups meet at Singhu border to discuss demands
Earlier on Wednesday, 32 farmer groups met at the Singhu near Delhi and Haryana to discuss their demands, after the Centre asked for written details of the “specific issues” related to the Farm Reforms Acts. The meeting was also attended by Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait.
“We held talks with Tikait Ji and he told us that he is with us,” Darshan Pal said. “We are together in this struggle.”
Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar once again appealed to farmers to trust the government when it says that the new legislations will bring about necessary reform that will allow farmers to market their produce and boost production through private investment.
“I appeal to the farmers that the laws are in their interest and the reforms have been done after a long wait, but if they have any objection to it then we are ready to address their concerns,” Tomar added. “We will hold discussions tomorrow...Let us see to what extent the issues can be resolved.”
Earlier in the day, Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal met Home Minister Amit Shah for the third time this week to find ways to assuage the anger of the farmers.
Unidentified officials told NDTV that Shah is also expected to meet Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday, ahead of the meeting between farm leaders and the government.
Chandigarh Police use water cannons on protestors
The Chandigarh Police used water cannons on Punjab Youth Congress workers, who gheraoed Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s residence.
The workers, who were then detained, said they were protesting against the Khattar government for stopping thousands of farmers while they were taking part in their “Delhi Chalo” march, and using water cannons and tear gas against them.
The workers led by Punjab Youth Congress President Barinder Dhillon had earlier gathered near the Chandigarh headquarters of the Congress. They shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led governments of Narendra Modi at the Centre and Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana, calling them “anti-farmer”.
The farmers agitation has been met with violent action from police, who have attempted to turn them back by using water cannons and tear gas. The authorities had taken extraordinary measures to set up blockades on highways – parking buses, trucks and other large vehicles. At some places, they even dug up trenches to obstruct farmers, many of whom camped on highways for the night in chilling temperatures.