Angry farmers questioned today why the BJP-led central government had to bring in the three new farm laws, which the government says are agricultural reforms that meet their long-standing demands. The government is only interested in the welfare of the corporates, which is why such “black laws” are being brought in, said the representatives of farmers groups amid the huge three-month agitation that has led to a march to Delhi.
“The government is saying much about the efficacy of the laws. But who had asked you to bring the laws? Which organisation? Please name them,” said one of the farm leaders at a press conference this evening after rejecting Home Minister Amit Shah’s conditional offer for early talks.
In a letter, Mr Shah had said discussions with the farmers will take place on December 3. If they wanted talks earlier than that, they will have to move their protest at a designated spot, the farmers said.
“We were told there will be a meeting on Monday without any conditions but we received a letter with conditions. If they accept our demands, we will go back home,” said one of the farmer representatives.
“Farmers from across the country are agitating. Amit Shah is trying to brand it as an agitation by the farmers of Punjab. They don’t want to accept that the agitation has become an all-India movement. That is why all their letters are just addressed to us. Other farmer leaders, who are protesting must also be invited,” the farm leaders said.
Over the last four days, thousands of farmers, braving water cannons, tear gas and barricades of the Haryana police, have reached the borders of Delhi. While some of them have managed to enter the city, the rest are sitting at the border areas, saying they are ready to do what it takes to see the end of the three farm laws passed by parliament earlier this year.
Earlier today, after holding a meeting where they decided to turn down the government’s offer, the farmers said the three anti-farmer and pro-corporate bills should be repealed and minimum support Price of crops should be guaranteed.
A second demand was the scrapping of an executive order on electricity. The farmers also want the government to do away with a rule that imposes a steep fine for stubble-burning, claiming it only contributes four to five per cent of the pollution.