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Farmers Split Over Continuing Protest, Those from Punjab Wish to Return But SKM Refuses to Budge

Farmers gather to mark the first anniversary of their protests at Delhi-Haryana’s Singhu border, on November 26, 2021. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

Farmers gather to mark the first anniversary of their protests at Delhi-Haryana’s Singhu border, on November 26, 2021. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

News18 has learnt that farmers from Punjab have expressed their wish to return to their homes but that the Samyukta Kisan Morcha is “forcing” them stay put at protest sites.

Cracks seem to be developing among farmers after over a year of protests over the question of continuing the agitation despite the contentious farm laws being repealed.

News18 has learnt that farmers from Punjab have expressed their wish to return to their homes but that the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmers’ unions, is “forcing” them stay put at protest sites along Delhi border in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur.

Farmers from Haryana, meanwhile, met Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday but consensus eluded on demands like withdrawal of cases registered against protesting farmers in the state, compensation and a government job to next of kin of those who died on account of various reasons and space for setting up a memorial at Kundli border.

Sources said Khattar gave the farmers an assurance on withdrawal of cases and compensation of Rs 5 lakh but farmers scaled up their demand for compensation and also sought residential plots.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the withdrawal of the farm laws on Gurupurab last month but farmer unions had then refused to call off their year-long agitation till the laws were repealed in Parliament. The Farm Laws Repeal Act, 2021 was passed in Parliament on Monday and received presidential assent the next day.

But the stalemate continues as their other demands such as legal guarantee on MSP, compensation to families of farmers who died during the movement and withdrawal of cases against them are still to be met.

The SKM in a statement on Friday said that farmers’ struggle for pending demands continues as there is no formal assurance from the Centre as yet on them. The SKM said it has not received any reply from the government in response to its letter to the Prime Minister, where the body had raised six key demands as a pre-condition for withdrawal of the movement.

The government has sought five names from the SKM to form a panel which will deliberate on MSP and other issues. The SKM said it will hold a meeting later on Saturday at the Singhu border on whether to send five names to the Centre.

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first published:December 04, 2021, 13:30 IST