Farmers’ Protests: Supreme Court Suggests Forming Panel To Resolve Deadlock, Farmers Say That’s Not A Solution
Farmers gather at a protest site on the Delhi-Haryana border crossing in Singhu, Delhi, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Farmers’ Protests: Supreme Court Suggests Forming Panel To Resolve Deadlock, Farmers Say That’s Not A Solution

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Protesting farmer unions Wednesday said constituting a new panel to break the stalemate on the three new agricultural laws, as indicated by the Supreme Court, is not a solution as they want a complete repeal of the legislations.

They also said the government should have formed a committee of farmers and others before the laws were enacted by Parliament.

Their assertions came after the Supreme Court indicated earlier in the day that it may form a panel having representatives of the government and farmer unions to resolve the deadlock.

Abhimanyu Kohar, a leader of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sabha which is one of 40 protesting farmer unions, said they have already rejected a recent government offer to form such a panel.

“Setting up a new committee by the court is not a solution. We just want a complete repeal of the three agriculture laws. Earlier, there have been several rounds of talks between a group of Central ministers and farmer unions, which was like a committee itself,” Kohar told PTI.

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, who is also a member of the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha said it is not for the judiciary to decide on the feasibility of these laws.

In another tweet, he said, “This amounts to resurrecting a proposal made by the Govt on Dec. 1 which farmers organisations had rejected unanimously.”

The Sankyukt Kisan Morcha is an umbrella body of 40 protesting farmer unions.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), which has been leading the agitation at Tikri Border, said that there would be no meaning of a new committee now.

“We will be in the new committee only after the government first repeals the three laws. The government should have formed a committee of farmers and others before enacting the new agriculture laws. There will be no meaning of new committee at this stage,” BKU Ekta Ugrahan’s Punjab general secretary Sukhdev Singh said.

However, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said, “We have only seen media reports about the Supreme Court order as of now. We want to first see an authentic copy of the order and then see what the government has to say. Only then can we comment on this.”

Farmers gather at a protest site at a road block on the Delhi-Haryana border crossing in Singhu, Delhi, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)
Farmers gather at a protest site at a road block on the Delhi-Haryana border crossing in Singhu, Delhi, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court indicated that it may form a committee having representatives of the government and farmer unions across the country to resolve the deadlock.

The top court was hearing a batch of applications seeking a direction to authorities to immediately remove the farmers from the roads, saying commuters were facing hardships due to the blockades and the gatherings might lead to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

“Your negotiations have not worked apparently. It is bound to fail. You are saying you are willing to negotiate,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Mehta, who is representing the Centre, replied, “Yes, we are willing to talk to farmers.”

Thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi border points for the last 20 days now in protest against the three laws that they claim will lead to a dismantling of the mandi system and the Minimum Support Price mechanism, apprehensions that the government has been saying are misplaced.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the agitating farmers had asserted they will make the Centre repeal the three new agri laws in a hardening of their stand.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

Farmers Tell Centre: Don’t Hold Parallel Talks

The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha has written to the central government on Wednesday asking it to stop holding parallel talks with other farmer bodies over the contentious laws.

The letter comes against the backdrop of the government holding talks with several farmers organisations from different states who the Centre claimed have extended their support to the new agriculture laws.

In a letter to Union Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal, the Morcha said the Centre should also stop "defaming" the ongoing protests being held at several Delhi border points against the three farm laws.

"We want the government to stop defaming farmers' agitation and holding parallel talks with other farmers' organisations," said Darshan Pal, a member of the 'Sankyukt Kisan Morcha', in his letter written in Hindi.

In his letter, Pal has also recorded in writing the farmer unions' decision to reject a recent government proposal of amendments in the new laws.

"In reference to the proposal (dated December 9) and your (Agarwal) letter, we want to inform the government that farmer organisations held a joint meeting to discuss the proposal on the same day and rejected it," he said.

"We had already made our stand clear in previous talks (with the government) that's why we did not send a written reply earlier," Pal said.

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