The hanging issues of farmers’ compensation and withdrawal of cases against them pertaining to incidents during the course of the 2020-21 farm agitation will be resolved soon, top government sources have told CNN-News18. The top leadership has instructed the chief ministers of BJP-ruled Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to work out the kinks, they said.
The farmers’ protest that began in late 2020, carried on through most of 2021. At the heart of the issue were three laws passed the previous year that the Centre had termed “agricultural reforms” but the protesters called “anti-farmer”.
While the agitation was mostly concentrated around Delhi, sporadic protests were seen in some other parts of the country as well. Many protesters died during the course of the movement and there was also some violence and violation of laws that led to FIRs being filed against some demonstrators in a few states. Finally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in late November 2021 that the government was repealing the three laws. The protests were suspended on December 11, as the farmers celebrated their “victory” and returned to their homes after a year.
Sources said both the chief ministers have been instructed to fix any impediments and give compensation to the deserving as soon as possible. They were also asked to take legal opinions and withdraw cases against the farmers so that the promises made by the Centre before the protests were called off can be fulfilled.
While rolling back the three farm laws, the government gave a written assurance to fulfill the protesters’ demands: a committee to resolve the row over minimum support price (MSP) of produce, the withdrawal of cases, and compensation.
A union home ministry letter given in December 2021 to Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of about 40 farmer unions, did not spell out the modalities of withdrawal of cases and the quantum of the compensation.
The letter only said that the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments had given their consent for compensation in principle while the Punjab government had publicly announced its decision.