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PM Modi to Address Farmers in Madhya Pradesh Tomorrow Amid Protests Against Agri Laws

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The government's latest efforts to reach out the farmers comes amid strong remarks by the Supreme Court, which is hearing multiple petitions on the ongoing protests on around the Delhi border.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday address farmers in Madhya Pradesh amid massive farmer protests near Delhi against Centre’s three new agricultural reforms.

The PM's address will begin at 2 pm via video link and will be telecast to around 23,000 villagers in the state.

The government's latest efforts to reach out the farmers comes amid strong remarks by the Supreme Court, which is hearing multiple petitions on the ongoing protests on around the Delhi border.

The Supreme Court on Thursday acknowledged the right of farmers to non-violent protests, and said it was thinking of setting up an "impartial and independent" panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the impasse over three contentious farm laws.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it would set up the committee which may include experts like P Sainath and representatives of the government and farmers' bodies to look for the resolution of the deadlock over the statutes.

The bench also comprising justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, "We acknowledge the right of farmers to protest but it has to be non-violent." In a hearing conducted via video conferencing, the top court said the purpose of staging protest can be achieved if the farmers and the government will hold talks and "we wish to facilitate that".

"We will not decide the validity of law today. The only thing which we will decide is the issue of protest and the right to move freely," the bench made clear at the outset of the hearing which is still going on.

The court, however, also told farmers that "people are going hungry in Delhi because of your actions blocking the roads. You have a right to protest. We are not going to interfere. Your protest has a purpose. And that must be fulfilled by talking to someone. You simply cannot sit on protest for years."

The hearing comes a day after the Supreme Court said the government's negotiations with the protesting farmers have "not worked apparently" and it will form a committee having representatives of the both the sides to resolve the deadlock.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who is leading the government side in the negotiations, said the ongoing agitation at Delhi's borders is limited to one state and farmers of Punjab are being "misled" by the Opposition.

first published:December 17, 2020, 14:36 IST