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Farmers decide to continue protests

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2021 Published on January 12, 2021

Farmers from Amritsar head to Delhi to join the ongoing agitation against farm laws   -  PTI

Not to cooperate with committee constituted by the Supreme Court

Farmer organisations and Opposition parties questioned the selection of members in the expert committee constituted by the Supreme Court to hold discussions with the protesting farmers and the Centre.

The protesters said they will not cooperate with the committee and the Opposition said all the members in the panel had vociferously supported the three farm laws and are not impartial people.

They have also decided to continue the protests, including the proposed tractor rally on January 26.

Talking to reporters in Singhu, the leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha said the members of the SC-appointed committee are not dependable as they have been writing on how farm laws are pro-farmer. “We will continue our agitation,” Balbeer Singh Rajewal, a senior leader of the farmers, said.

He accused the Centre of playing behind the scene. “We are against the committee on principle. It is the government’s way to distract attention from the protest,” he said. Another leader Darshan Pal said they do not want any external committee, but maintained that they will attend the discussion with the Centre scheduled for Friday.

‘Repeal the laws’

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee said in a statement that suspending the implementation of the laws as an interim measure is welcome but is not a solution and the farmer unions have not been asking for this solution.

“The Government must repeal the laws and it must understand that farmers and people of India are opposed to the laws,” they said in a statement. They also reiterated that they will not participate in the committee’s process and questioned the “very constitution” of the committee.

“It is clear that the Court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the three Acts and have actively advocated for the same. It is not out of place to remind that the farmer unions have rejected a Committee proposal from the government too. Their dialogue is basically with an elected government about its policy directions and concomitant laws,” they said.

Opposition backs farmers

The Opposition parties too supported the stand of the farmers. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said farmers have been left with no other option than boycotting the committee. “Can anyone expect the protesting farmers demanding repeal of agri laws to talk to such a committee? Why should they?,” he asked.

Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said for any committee to be independent, its credibility must be beyond doubt. “How can anyone trust a committee whose members have already spoken so loudly in favour of Modi Government’s draconian farm laws,” he said.

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Published on January 12, 2021
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