Centre reaches out to protesting farmers’ unions, asks them to repair a date for talks to seek out options | India Information – Occasions of India
“The government has consistently been trying to discuss all concerns of farmers with an open mind. Besides discussing these issues with protesting farmers’ unions, the Centre has also kept its door open to discuss the issues (concerning farm laws) with other farmer organisations as well…The government has also been trying to talk to protesting farmer representatives individually,” said Vivek Aggarwal, joint secretary in the agriculture ministry, in his letter to farmer leader Darshan Pal of the ‘Sanyukta Kisan Morcha’.
The joint secretary’s letter was in response to Pal’s email to him on December 16. Pal had informed him about the unions’ decision, rejecting the Centre’s December 9 proposals on amending farm laws and clarifying certain provisions. Pal had also requested the Centre not to defame farmers’ movement and “stop holding parallel talks” with other farmer organisations (those which are not involved in the protest against the farm laws).
Responding to Pal, Aggarwal on Sunday in his letter said, “It is not clear from your email whether it was your individual opinion or it was the consensus decision of all unions. Besides, it is also not clear as to why the government proposal (of December 9) was rejected”.
Aggarwal’s letter, addressed to Pal and marked to leaders of other 39 unions which participated in the talks, mentioned all that which the government had proposed to improvise the central farm laws through amendments of certain clause and clarification on others on December 9. The farmers’ unions had, however, rejected it, leading to breakdown of the talks after five rounds.
The Centre’s fresh proposal on Sunday came even as the farmers’ unions announced their future course of protests through various actions including undertaking a relay hunger strike at protest sites from Monday and to make all toll plazas in Haryana free for three days during December 25-27.
Besides, they also gave a call to Indians living abroad to stand up for farmers’ cause as a mark of solidarity on weekend and appealed people in general to express their support by beating utensils at their homes, coinciding it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s next monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’, on December 27.
Slightly deviating from what the farmers unions had maintained by keeping themselves away from political parties in past 25 days, they on Sunday announced a kind of political outreach programme where the farmers would go with a message to NDA partners, either in state or Centre, asking them to force the government to withdraw the central farm laws.
“Farmers would approach the NDA partners asking them to compel the government to withdraw the farm laws. After all, they are the shareholders in the government. If they don’t agree with us, we would boycott them too,” said farmer leader, Jagjit Singh Dallewala, while addressing a joint press conference with Darshan Pal, Yogendra Yadav and others at Delhi-Haryana Singhu Border.
Though the leaders did not go into the details, the farmers’ representatives hinted that the message was mainly for Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) which is in alliance with the BJP in M L Khattar-led Haryana government.
Since Haryana too has been facing the heat of farmers’ protests in past three weeks, Khattar on Saturday met agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and discussed with him the way to end the current deadlock.
Farmers’ representatives on Sunday alleged that the government was involved in harassing farmers and ‘arhtiyas’ commission agents in order to weaken the movement.
“We condemn the witch hunt by the government against the farmers and demand it be stopped. The commission agents are being raided by income tax officials. We believe that they are being harassed because they are supporting the protesting farmers with food and other items,” said farmer leader, Darshan Pal, of the Krantikari Kisan Union.
Speaking about the plan for relay hunger strike, Yogendra Yadav of Jai Kisan Andolan, a constituent of the farmers’ unions umbrella body AIKSCC, said the farmers would begin the relay hunger strike at all protest sites around Delhi as well as in other states such as Telangana and Uttar Pradesh with 11-member team being on fast daily.
Farmers’ unions also gave a call to boycott Adani Group’s Fortune brand products.
On the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib here on Sunday, the farmer leaders said they hope good sense would prevail upon him to withdraw the farm laws after this visit.
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait) leader Rakesh Tikait during the press conference appealed to people to extend solidarity with protesting farmers on occasion of ‘Kisan Diwas’ on December 23. “I would urge people to skip a meal on that day as mark of support to ‘Annadata’ (farmers),” he said.