Farmers say no to conditional talks; will continue blockade

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 29, 2020 Published on November 29, 2020

In Mann ki Baat, PM says committed to welfare of farmers, new doors opening

Protesting Punjab farmers, who are staying put on the borders of Delhi, have rejected Home Minister Amit Shah's offer that the government will be ready to hold talks with them if they move to Nirankari Samagam Ground at Burari.

This came on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the protesting farmers through his monthly radio talk Mann ki Baat and assured them that the Government was committed to their welfare and that the recent agriculture reforms, including laws, had opened new opportunities for the community. “New dimensions are being added to agriculture and its related activities in India. The agriculture reforms in the past few days have also now opened the new doors of possibilities for our farmers,” Modi said.

Many farmer groups camping at the Singhu border said they will not accept any conditions for holding talks and refused to move to the Burari grounds. Farmers from many States, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, have been coming to the Capital since Thursday to protest against the Central farm laws they want repealed.

‘To stay put’

“We have decided that we will stay put at the Delhi borders. We will not go to Burari,” said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda) President Buta Singh Burjgill, who led one of the largest contingents of farmers on the ‘Delhi chalo’ march.

In a statement, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a coalition of over 500 farmer organisations, said: “Instead of responding to the main demands of repealing the three black laws and the withdrawal of the Electricity Bill, 2020, the government is doing its best to move the debate to where the farmers should camp. Deployment of forces all over the city is creating an atmosphere of terror and apprehension amongst the protesting farmers and the people of Delhi.”

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, one of the main organisers, gave a call to farmers’ organisations to immediately send farmers to Delhi to intensify the protest. It has also called for State-level protests from Tuesday.

Political parties’ call

Meanwhile, many political parties, including the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Shiv Sena and the Jannayak Janta Party, which is coalition partner in the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana, urged the Centre to hold talks with the protesting farmers at the earliest.

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But farmers said they will not allow any political party to speak from their stage. But other organisations supporting thes protest are welcome if they follow the rules, said Surjeet S Phul, President, BKU Krantikari, another Punjab farmer outfit.

PMs speak

Reaching out to hundreds of protesting farmers who had dubbed the Centre’s recent farm Bills as “anti-farmer”, Modi on Sunday said that his government was committed to the welfare of the hardworking Indian farmer and that these laws have broken the shackles of various farmers and begun to lessen their problems.

Addressing the monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’, Modi also urged all agricultural students to help inform farmers in their nearby areas on the details of the new reforms.

“New dimensions are being added to agriculture and its related activities in India. The agriculture reforms in the past few days have also now opened the new doors of possibilities for our farmers”, Modi said.

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Published on November 29, 2020
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