The farmers’ leaders have agreed not to gather in large numbers at the protest site near Jantar Mantar during the current parliament session. The Delhi Police subsequently permitted them to assemble not more than 200 persons a day.
The compromise formula has arrived as both farmer unions and police did not want a repeat of the January 26 violence episode on Delhi’s streets after the tractor march.
“Starting from Thursday, 200 farmers each would reach Jantar Mantar to protest against the government, and hold their own Kisan Sansads on each working day of the Parliament, until the monsoon session ends,” Samyukt Kisan Morcha (united farmers’ front) said in a statement. As per the earlier plan, the farmers were scheduled to march to Parliament on the first day of the monsoon session and continue the protest until the end of the session.
The government on Tuesday refrained from giving a categorical reply to a parliament question as to whether it was considering scrapping the farm laws in near future. It, however, said in Lok Sabha that they “will remain open” to discussions with agitating farmers to resolve the issue. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on July 8 had said that the Centre would not repeal the three farm laws while it was ready to hold talks with the agitating farmers on the provisions of the Acts.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at different border points of Delhi for nearly eight months demanding repeal of the three contentious laws and to ensure a legally guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism. The Supreme Court in January put on hold implementation of the three laws till further order. A committee set up by the apex court has since submitted its report.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of several farmers’ organisations across the country spearheading the protest, said that two batches of farmers have left for Delhi from Kerala while contingents of farmers from Tamil Nadu and other states will reach in a day or two. Farmers from Karnataka reached the Delhi protest site on the Uttar Pradesh border Wednesday and showed their solidarity with Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU). More farmers from Punjab and Haryana are also reaching protest sites every day to further strengthen the movement.
Farmers union also deplored the government’s attempt to downplay their major demand of a legal guarantee of MSP and pointed out that the Centre chose to present this demand as an “Issue related to procurement at MSP.” Samyukt Kisan Morcha has been clearly stating that it seeks a legal guarantee for all farmers for all agricultural produce on MSP which should be declared on basis of the C2+50% formula (50% profit over comprehensive costs), the statement said.
Farmers’ leaders have also taken exception to a government statement in parliament that said it has no such record about the number of death of agitating farmers. “SKM would like to remind minister Tomar, his colleagues and officials, that in December 2020, the entire official delegation stood up in silence to pay respects to the many martyrs of the movement,” the statement said adding as many as 537 farmers have died until July 10 since the protest began in November last year.