The agitation by farmers camping on the Delhi borders since November 26 to demand repeal of the new agricultural laws continued for the 15th day on Thursday, with peasant leaders adamant on intensifying the protests further.
After rejecting the central government’s proposal to amend the new laws, the parleys of farmer leaders with the Centre seem derailed at the moment and no new initiative is forthcoming in this direction.
Farmer leaders sitting on a dharna on the Singhu border on the Delhi-Ambala route said that their protest will last until the Centre withdrew all three agricultural laws.
Farmer leader Gurvinder Singh Kum Kalan, associated with the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), told IANS: “Our movement will continue till the government withdraws the new laws. Our leaders have announced the closure of all major roads and highways towards Delhi and a protest demonstration across the country on December 14.”
Farmer leaders have also announced closure of the Jaipur-Delhi and Delhi-Agra Expressways by Saturday.
Bharatiya Kisan Union Haryana unit chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said: “There is nothing new in the written proposals sent by the government on Wednesday. It shows that the government is adamant on its stand. Therefore, those proposals have been unanimously rejected.”
He said: “After all this, the road to negotiations with the government has been closed. If any new proposals come, then the talks will restart.”
After rejecting the government proposals on Wednesday, the farmer leaders decided to intensify the protests further. They have given a call for making the roads toll-free across the country on December 12. Apart from this, an appeal has been made to stage protests at the district headquarters across India on December 14. Farmer leaders have also appealed to the people to stop use of Jio SIMs and services.
The farmers are demanding the repeal of The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. They also want a guarantee to procure all crops at the minimum support price (MSP).
In addition to this, the demands also include abolition of provisions for stricter penalties and fines in the ordinance related to stubble-burning and withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.
The Centre and the protesting farmers have so far held five rounds of talks and the sixth round scheduled in Delhi for December 9 was cancelled. A meeting of a delegation of farmer leaders with Union Home Minister Amit Shah remained inconclusive on December 8.