With yet another round of talks with the Centre failing to yield any result, farmers’ union representatives on Saturday, resorted to a silent protest during their fifth meeting with the government on the newly-passed agriculture laws, reported NDTV. Four hours into the meeting, the farmers refused to talk and used a placard saying “Yes/No” to ask the Centre’s representatives whether or not they were willing to repeal the laws.
The talks have so far ended in stalemates with the Centre repeatedly saying they were considering changes in the laws, while the farmers are firm on their demand of scrapping them.
During Saturday’s meeting, the farmers, for the second time in a week, refused to eat lunch offered by the government. They also carried their own tea and water from their langar at Singhu border, one of the protest sites.
During Saturday’s meeting, the farmers warned that they have enough supplies to continue their agitation till there is a breakthrough. “We have material with us to last a year they said,” they said. “We’ve been on road for past several days. If government wants us to stay on road, we’ve no problem.”
The next round of talks is scheduled to take place on December 9, a day after the Bharat Bandh called by the farmers.
The Parliament had passed three ordinances – Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Assurance and Farm Service Ordinance 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 – in September. They were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27.
Farmers and traders have alleged that the government wants to discontinue the minimum support price regime in the name of reforms. They fear that the laws will leave them at the mercy of corporate powers. The government has maintained that farm laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
The government claims the new laws would give farmers the freedom to sell in the open market. But farmers say the laws will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, leave farmers to the mercy of market forces and threaten food security.