The seventh round of talks on agriculture laws between farmers and the Centre on Monday ended in a deadlock, with the two sides deciding to meet again at 2 pm on January 8. While the farmers stuck to their demand of repealing the laws, the Centre remained firm against it and suggested the formation of a panel to take the matter forward.
In their last meeting on December 30, the two sides reached a consensus on two key concerns – stubble burning penalty and the Electricity Amendment Act.
Key border points in Delhi remained closed because of the protests. On Sunday, the farmers took shelter under tents as rain hit the Capital and its surrounding areas.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at Delhi’s borders for over a month in the biting cold. The protestors say the laws will dismantle regulated markets, and hurt their livelihoods by making them vulnerable to big corporations.
Here are the top updates of the day:
7.09 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Yudhvir Singh says the Union ministers wanted to discuss the law point-wise. “We rejected it and said that there is no point in discussing the laws because we want a complete rollback of the laws,” he adds. “Government intends to take us towards amendments but we will not accept it.”
7.05 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says she is in favour of the farmers and want withdrawal of the three bills for the sake of the country and farmers. “Before the bills came in, they had godowns made,” she adds, according to ANI. “Their political intention is clear and that’s why they are not taking it back.”
6.55 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says no decision could be reached in Monday’s meeting, reports PTI. “Talks remained inconclusive as Union leaders remained stuck on their demand for repeal of three laws,” he adds. “Government wants unions to raise specific issues in three farm laws on which they have problems. Both sides need to make efforts to find solution. Hopeful of solution in January 8 meeting.”
6.13 pm: Protests will not be withdrawn until the laws are repealed, says All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah, according to ANI.
6.10 pm: Seventh round of talks between farmers and Centre ends without any resolution, reports ANI. The next meeting will be held on January 8 on the matter of repealing the laws and providing legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price.
5.38 pm: Farmers refuse to share lunch with Union ministers in interval during their meeting with the Centre, reports NDTV. During their last round of talks, Cabinet ministers Piyush Goyal and Narendra Singh Tomar had eaten food brought by the farmers.
5.34 pm: Farmer leaders apprehensive about reaching a concrete outcome in their meeting with the Centre, reports PTI.
“Our demand is the repeal of the laws,” says Rakesh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. “We will not agree to any alternatives such as the setting of the committee.”
5.31 pm: Farmer groups stick to their demand of repealing the farm laws, while Centre refuses to do so in seventh round of talks between the two sides, reports PTI.
3.48 pm: BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh Vyapaari Kalyan Board Chairman Ravi Kant Garg says the apprehension that farmers may end up losing their land due to the new farm laws is baseless, reports PTI.
3.46 pm: Ahead of the seventh round of talks, Union ministers and government officials observe two-minute silence for farmers who died during the ongoing protests against the farm laws, reports ANI.
3.15 pm: Seventh round of talks between Centre and farmer unions begins by paying respects to the farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing protest, reports PTI, quoting sources.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, are holding talks with representatives of 40 farmer unions.
3.10 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urges Centre to accept all the demands of the protesting farmers and repeal the three farm laws.
“I salute the courage of the farmers who are on the streets despite the cold and rains,” he tweets in Hindi. “I appeal to the Centre to accept all demands of the farmers in today’s meeting and repeal the three black laws.”
3.08 pm: Seventh round of talks between farmers’ unions and the Centre is under way, reports ANI.
2.27 pm: Actor Dharmendra tweets: “I hope my farmer brothers get justice today. I pray with all my heart. Every noble soul will get relief.”
1.22 pm: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar says he is hopeful for a “positive solution” to come out of Monday’s meeting. “We will discuss all issues in the meeting,” he tells reporters.
1.14 pm: Farmer leaders reach Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi for discussions with the Centre on the three new farm laws. “We hope there’s a breakthrough in this meeting in the new year,” says one of the farmer leaders, according to ANI.
12.21 pm: Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Kailash Choudhary says a positive solution will emerge from the talks between the Centre and the farmers.
12.16 pm: Three protestors die at the Singhu and Tikri borders, The Indian Express reports.
12.08 pm: All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah says he hopes the government will adopt a human approach towards the farmers, ANI reports. “It is up to the government whether it wants to solve the farmers’ problems or conspire against the farmers to fizzle out their struggle,” he adds.
12.06 pm: Reliance Industries Limited files petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking government intervention into several cases of vandalisation of cell phone towers of its telecom arm, Reliance Jio, allegedly by supporters of the ongoing farmers’ protest.
12.02 pm: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait says 60 protesting farmers have died so far. “One farmer is dying every 16 hours,” he says, according to ANI. “It is the responsibility of the government to answer.”
10.59 am: Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha criticises Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar after the police fired several rounds of tear gas shells to stop a group of farmers, mostly from Rajasthan, from moving towards Delhi on Sunday, reports ANI.
“Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar sahab like General Dyer is allowing to fire upon farmers and using tear gas against them,” says Chadha. “Are the country’s farmers our enemies? Are they Army personnel of China or Pakistan? It’s shameful.”
10.55 am: The agriculture ministry officials worked over the weekend to prepare for talks with farmers’ organisation today, reports The Indian Express. An official says the government is “extremely concerned” and wants a “positive outcome”.
9.28 am: The protestors took shelter under tents as rain hit the Capital and its surrounding areas on Sunday.
9.18 am: Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee also remains firm on its demands. “Our demands are the same as before, repeal the three farm laws and guarantee MSP,” the organisation’s Joint Secretary Sukhwinder S Sabra tells ANI. “If our demands aren’t met, then, we’ll hold tractor march on January 6 and also January 26.”
9.12 am: Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait says the farmers won’t consider anything less than the repeal of the laws at the seventh meeting with the Centre on Monday, ANI reports. “[The] government must understand, the farmer has taken this movement to his heart,” he adds,
9.10 am: Key border points in Delhi continue to remain closed because of the farmers’ protest.
8.55 am: Here is a recap of the events from Sunday:
- The Haryana police used water cannons and tear gas shells on hundreds of protestors at the Rewari-Alwar border as they began marching towards Delhi. The protestors broke police barricades near Bhudla Sangwari village in Rewari district.
- Congress President Sonia Gandhi criticised the Narendra Modi government for its handling of the ongoing farmers protest, claiming that more than 50 people have lost their lives while taking part in the agitation. She also accused the government of being arrogant and indulging in cronyism.
- Punjab-based farmers protesting against the agricultural laws sent legal notices to Union minister Giriraj Singh, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ram Madhav for allegedly making defamatory statements about their agitation.
- Haryana BJP leader and former minister Sampat Singh urged the Centre to repeal the farming laws. He added that the government should not remain adamant.
- The Rajasthan Congress held a dharna in Jaipur to oppose the agricultural laws. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot were seen on the state together.