National

Farmers disperse after 13-month protest against farm reform laws

A. M. Jigeesh | | | Updated on: Dec 10, 2021

Farmers rejoice at the Singhu border after SKM called off the year-long protest, in New Delhi, on Thursday | Photo Credit: KAMAL NARANG

War to ensure farmers’ rights, especially to secure MSP as a legal entitlement, will continue, says SKM

After over a year, the farmers protesting on the borders of Delhi began dispersing on Thursday after the Government formally agreed to their representative body, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s, demands including withdrawal of 48,000 cases against protestors, taking measures to legalise Minimum Support Price for crop and providing compensation for families of over 700 farmers who have died during the course of the protests demanding the repeal of farm reform laws.

The farmers camped mainly at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders started dismantling the tents and temporary sheds and clearing the roads before proceeding back to their villages in Punjab, UP and Haryana.

‘Historic victory’

At a general body meeting of the SKM in Singhu Border, the letter of the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Sanjay Agarwal agreeing to their demands was formally approved. The SKM then announced the suspension of their 13-month-long agitation. Their main demand had already been conceded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who announced on November 19 that the three farm Bills would be repealed. Parliament repealed the laws later on November 29.

“Current agitation stands suspended. Battle has been won and the war to ensure farmers’ rights, especially to secure MSP as a legal entitlement for all farmers, will continue,” the SKM leaders said.

Electricity Act amendment

They dedicated the “fabulous and historic victory” of the struggle to the over 700 martyrs of the movement, including in the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri. “Farmers’ unity, peace and patience has been the key to the victory and this will not be allowed to erode in any circumstance,” they said.

Agarwal also said that all cases against the farmers will be withdrawn with immediate effect and the Centre will request the States also to do so. On compensation for farmers, the official said States such as Haryana and Uttar pradesh have decided in principle to provide compensation to the family members of the farmers who died during the protests. The Centre also cited the example of Punjab, where jobs were also given to the relatives of the deceased.

On draft amendments to Electricity Act, the secretary said the Bill will not be brought to Parliament without talking to all stakeholders, including SKM. He also told the SKM that the Centre has removed penal provisions on farmers for burning stubbles.

Mourning the demise of Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat and other officers in a helicopter crash, the SKM decided to postpone all celebrations. The next meeting of the SKM will be held on January 15 to monitor the progress made by the Centre in keeping the promises.

Published on December 09, 2021
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