As thousands of farmers press on with their agitation, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Khattar on Saturday announced that his government will introduce a law for recovery of losses due to damage to public property during demonstrations, reported ANI. The chief minister made the comments after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during which they discussed the farmer protests.
“We discussed the farmers’ protest among other issues,” Khattar said, according to the news agency. “We will be bringing a law for recovery of damages to public property from protestors.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Haryana will try to bring the law in the upcoming session of the Legislative Assembly, Khattar said, according to NDTV.
Khattar reiterated that the Centre was clearly about its stand that the three agricultural laws will benefit farmers, and will certainly boost the economic prosperity of the agricultural sector, according to a press release by the Haryana government. He alleged that “some people are protesting just for the sake of protest”, which showed their vested political intent.
However, if through positive dialogue, any amendment in these laws is required, then the Centre is and will always be ready for making the required amendments, Khattar was quoted as saying. “I am hopeful that soon the issue would be resolved,” he added.
Thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi’s border points for over two months, seeking the withdrawal of agricultural laws passed in September. Most of the protestors are farmers from Punjab and Haryana, the two biggest agricultural producers.
Farmers say the new laws will favor large corporate farms, devastate the earnings and leave them at the mercy of big businesses. The Narendra Modi government has billed the laws as necessary to modernise Indian farming.
Multiple rounds of talks between the farmer leaders and government officials have been held, but none of them managed to end the deadlock. The farmers are adamant that they will not accept anything less than a repeal of the laws. They also want a law that guarantees the Minimum Support Price.
The protests had largely been peaceful but violence erupted on January 26, when a tractor rally planned to coincide with Republic Day celebrations turned chaotic. More than 100 protestors have been arrested in connection with the violence and several are missing.