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Govt begins talks with protesting farmers for the third time

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 05, 2020 Published on December 05, 2020

Farmers protesting in large numbers at Delhi's Singhu border against the central govt's new farm bil, amidst the covid-19 pandemic in the chilly Delhi winter.   -  Photo: Kamal Narang

Modi held a meeting with senior ministerial colleagues before the talks

The 10-day-long farmer protests at the borders of the national capital received the highest attention on Saturday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi convening a meeting of his senior cabinet colleagues along with those involved in negotiations with the farmers.

The meeting took place just a few hours before the Ministers – Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal – met the farmers for the talks, third time in less than a week, assumed significance as the protesting farmers were appealing for an intervention at the highest level for resolving the impasse.

Apart from the Ministers involved in negotiation, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP President J P Nadda participated in the meeting with Modi. However, it is not immediately known what transpired in the high level meeting.

The talks, in which 40-odd farmer leaders representing Samyukt Kisan Morcha participated, began a little later than the appointed 2 pm in Vigyan Bhavan. The farmers have been saying that they want the government to repeal the controversial farm laws in toto while the Ministers said during the previous round of talks on Thursday that they are willing to make some amendments to the laws including slapping tax on trade outside designated mandis and also make it compulsory for traders to have licence than just PAN or Aadhaar card as envisaged in the law. The government was willing to tweak the dispute resolution mechanism to allow the farmers to approach courts for escalating the litigation.

The farmers, who have been camping at the key entry points to the capital for 10 days, have decided to escalate the agitation further by burning effigies of the Prime Minister as well as businessmen like Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, who the farmers think are the major beneficiaries of the new laws. They have also called for a nationwide hartal on December 8 as well as appealed to farmers in States surrounding Delhi to march for further strengthening the agitation.

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Published on December 05, 2020
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