Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday reached out to thousands of farmers who have been camping in and outside Delhi to protest against three farm laws passed by the Centre recently. “The government is ready to deliberate on every problem and demand of the farmers,” Mr Shah said in a video message.
Mr Shah said the Centre will hold talks with the agitating farmers’ unions on December 3 and if they want to hold discussions before that, they will have to shift their protests at the place finalised by the government.
“If farmers’ unions want to hold discussions before December 3 then, I want to assure you all, that as soon as you shift your protest to the structured place, the government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Thousands of farmers marching from Punjab as part of their “Delhi Chalo” campaign against the laws, braved watercannons and tear gas shells in Haryana to reach Delhi on Friday. They were, however, not allowed into the national capital. As the protests continued, the Centre, which looks after the national capital’s law and order, relented and fixed a place for their agitation.
Hundreds of the protestors, however, have refused to go to the outer Delhi protest venue and have remained camped at several places on the outskirts of the national capital.
Since Wednesday, several visuals have emerged that showed the protesting farmers surging ahead despite the heavy presence of security personnel, armed with batons, watercannons and tear gas. As opposition parties and social media users rallied behind the farmers, the Centre on Friday agreed to hold talks over their demands.
“The government has always been ready to discuss issues with farmers. We have invited farmers’ organisations for another round of talks on 3rd December. I appeal to them to leave agitation in view of COVID-19 and winter,” Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The farmers are protesting the laws that the Centre says will reform the agricultural sector by removing middlemen and allowing them (the farmers) to sell produce anywhere in the country. Farmers and opposition parties, however, allege the laws will deprive them of guaranteed minimum price for their produce.