The sixth round of negotiations between farmers protesting against new agricultural laws and the central government, scheduled for Wednesday, was cancelled, after a meeting between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and farmer union heads on Tuesday evening failed to yield any breakthrough, reported NDTV.
Farmer leaders said the government will send a proposal on the farm laws their way on Wednesday, December 9. The union leaders will deliberate on this proposal. “We will discuss it, and decide whether there is need of another meeting,” Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union President Gurnam Singh Chaduni told The Indian Express.
The meeting remained inconclusive as neither the government refused to budge from its stand nor the farmer leaders are ready to accept anything less than a repeal of the three farm laws. The protesting farmers fear that the new legislations would lead the government to discontinue the minimum support price regime and leave them at the mercy of corporate powers.
“In today’s meeting the home minister made it clear that the government will not repeal the laws,” All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Mollah Hannan told reporters after the talks on Tuesday. “Shahji said that the government will give tomorrow in writing the amendments which the government is keen to. There is no scope for amendments, we want repeal of laws.”
Therefore, no meeting will be held with the government on Wednesday, Hannan said. Instead, farm leaders will meet among themselves at noon near the Singhu border to deliberate on the proposal sent by the Centre.
“The minister [Amit Shah] has said a proposal will be given to farmer leaders on Wednesday,” the farmer union leader told The Indian Express. “If the letter is only about the amendments, then there is no question of further talks…rishta khatam ho jayega [the relationship will end].”
During the last meeting with the government on December 5, the farmer representatives reportedly rejected the government’s offer to amend some contentious provisions of the new farm laws, which deregulate crop pricing, and have stuck to their demand for total repeal. Reports said the government was even considering a special Parliament session to pass amendments. But the farmers are adamant.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the laws for nearly two months. The situation escalated twelve days ago, when thousands marched to the Capital, where they clashed with police who used tear gas, water cannons and batons against them. The farmers have since camped along Delhi borders, saying they won’t leave until the government rolls back the legislations.
The Centre, which claims the laws would revitalise India’s agrarian economy by boosting produce, has made several attempts to placate the farmers. But five rounds of talks have failed to break the impasse so far.