Farmers protesting against the controversial farm sector laws have decided to hold out for a complete scrapping of the laws, rejecting the Centre’s new proposal of putting them on hold for 18 months while negotiations continue with a fresh committee.
The government had put forward the proposal yesterday at the 10th round of negotiations with the farmers’ unions. After nine rounds of inconclusive talks, it was seen as holding out hope of a breakthrough.
The farmers had given no immediate reply. Several of them later said their plans for a big tractor rally on Republic Day had unnerved the government.
As the protest outside the Delhi borders entered its 58th day, the farmers after a meeting at the Singhu border, said this evening that they want a full repeal of the three Central farm laws and a fresh law to ensure that they get Minimum Support Price for their produce.
The protesters, who had been camping at the Delhi border since November 26, said the tractor march will progress as planned.
They have also turned down a police requests to cancel the rally on Republic Day.
Contending that a protest rally on such a day will embarrass the nation, the government had asked the Supreme Court to put a stop to it. The court, which earlier upheld the farmers’ fundamental right to protest, declined, saying the matter should be handled by the police.
The farmers have assured that their rally will stick to the Ring Road, which runs along the periphery of the city, and won’t clash with the traditional prestigious parade held on Rajpath.
Contending that their peaceful movement is becoming a “people’s movement”, the farmers said on Republic Day, similar protest rallies will be held in many states, including Karnataka, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh. In Kolkata, a three-day protest will take place starting January 20.
Earlier this month, the farm laws were put on hold for at least two
months by the Supreme Court, which named a special committee discusses the issue with all sides in that time.
The farmers, however, did not accept the committee, saying all four of its members are pro-government. One of the members stepped down a day after being named.