The leaders of the protesting farmers wrote to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday, demanding a special session of Parliament to repeal the new farm laws and asking the government to not"indulge in divisive agenda" to break farmers' unity. The letter comes a day before the second round of talks is scheduled to take place between the Centre and leaders of farmer unions to resolve the ongoing standoff over the new agriculture laws.
"We ask the government not to indulge in any divisive agendas with regard to the farmers' movement which is united in its demands at this point of time.This was clear from the meeting proceedings yesterday (Tuesday),"Samyukt Kisan Morcha Coordination Committee, which is spearheading the protests, said in the letter. According to the letter, the leaders asked the Centre to ensurethat representatives of various farmer organisations and their alliances are decided by the farmers and not by the government, and that the all-India alliances that have been at the forefront of the agitation get representation in the consultations.
Critical talks between three Union ministers and farmer groups ended in a stalemate on Tuesday after they rejected the government's suggestion of a new committee to look into the issues raised by the agitating farmers. The two sides, however, have decided to meet again on Thursday.
In its letter, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha Coordination Committee asked the government to ensure that all consultations happen at the same time without any parallel talks with different organisations at different times and locations. "We once again put forward our demand that Parliament be convened immediately to repeal the three farm acts, and give in writing that the government would not introduce the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 in the Parliament," it stated.
It also stated that thousands of farmers including mothers, children and the elderly have been sitting peacefully and patiently on the national highways leading into Delhi for the past seven days, braving the chill with determination. Three deaths have already been reported, it said, adding that it would be inhuman on the part of the Union government to not resolve the farmers' genuine and legitimate demands immediately and bring normalcy at the earliest.
"The Expert Panel proposal is not acceptable to us. Given the failure of earlier such efforts, we see no point in this. The lack of sincerity of the government makes it use this tool of expert panels that it sets up, with government itself inevitably deciding the constitution and terms of reference, and also not adopting, inevitably again, the recommendations that come out of such panels. Therefore, farmers can see through the ploy of meaningless expert panels," it added. Earlier in the day, leaders of farmer unions threatened to block other roads of the national capital if their demands were not met soon.
They also warned that "more steps" will be taken by them in the coming days if the central government does not withdraw the new agriculture laws.