After long deliberation, the farmers union has decided to attend the meeting with the Centre today, as protesters continue their agitation in and around Delhi against the three controversial farm laws. Currently, senior cabinet ministers Piyush Goyal and Narendra Singh Tomar commenced talks with farmers at Vigyan Bhawan. In less than 48 hours, this is the second meeting between the farmers and the top BJP leaders.
Reportedly, the government has proposed to constitute a committee to discuss the contentious provisions of the new farm laws with protesting farmers. The committee will have 4-5 people from farmers’ organisations and representatives from the government as well as agricultural experts.
Before the meeting, Goyal made it clear that the options before the government will depend on the exact demands made by the farmers. Representatives of around 32 farmer organisations are attending the meeting. The agitating farmers have said the Centre must invite all 500 groups of farmers instead of the 32 farmer organisations they have invited.
Citing the cold weather and Covid-19 situation, Union Agriculture Minister Tomar had invited farmer unions’ leaders for talks ahead of the prior date of December 3. However, there were reports that Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah would attend the meeting. However, it seems they have skipped the meet.
Both the Singhu border and Tikri border have been closed as farmers continue to camp on the highway after not being allowed to enter the capital with their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march. Meanwhile, 82-year-old activist Bilkis ‘Dadi’ of the Shaheen Bagh protests, who reached the Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) to join the ongoing farmers’ protest, was detained by the Delhi police.
Besides, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked the government to wake up and shed “arrogance” to provide the rights that the protesting farmers deserve. Taking to Twitter, he tweeted, “The food grower is sitting in protest on the roads and fields and speeches are going on TV. We all are indebted to the hard work of farmers. This debt will be over only by giving them justice and their rights, and not by mistreating them or by beating them with batons or using tear gas against them.”
Since November 26, thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Singhu and Tikri borders demanding a rollback of new farm laws fearing that the new law will dismantle the minimum support price system and corporatise farming.