Farmers protesting against the three agricultural reform laws have rejected the government’s proposal to stay the implementation of the three legislations for one-and-a-half years, and have reiterated their demand for a full repeal of the three laws. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of unions leading protests at several Delhi border points, also said the tractor protest on Republic Day would go on as planned.
A statement released by the morcha said, "In a full general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha today, the proposal put forth by the government yesterday (Wednesday) was rejected. A full repeal of three central farm acts and enacting legislation for remunerative MSP for all farmers were reiterated as the pending demands of the movement."
"The SKM pays homage to the 143 farmers who have been martyred in this movement so far. These companions are separated from us while fighting this mass movement. Their sacrifice will not go in vain and we will not go back without the repealing of these farm laws," the morcha said following a marathon meeting held by union leaders during the day.
Later in the evening, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar met senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, sources said.
The eleventh round of talks between farmers and the government is scheduled to be held on Thursday. The government had put forward the proposal on Wednesday at the 10th round of negotiations with the farmers' unions, and it had evoked hope of a breakthrough as this was the first time that farmers did not reject the government offer immediately.
But as the farmers, who have been camped at Delhi borders for 58 days now, met on Thursday to discuss the offer, they said they want a full repeal of the three central farm laws and a fresh law to ensure that they get Minimum Support Price for their produce.
In another development, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) national spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa claimed he was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police at Bisalpur in Pilibhit district for "raising voice for farmers rights". However, the local SP denied that Sirsa was arrested.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-appointed panel on the new agri laws started its consultation process on Thursday and interacted with 10 farmer organisations from eight states, including Uttar Pradesh.
The apex court had on January 11 stayed the implementation of the three laws, against which farmers are protesting at Delhi borders for nearly two months now, till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse.