Amit Shah Says Centre Ready for Talks, Urges Farmers to Protest at Burari and Not Block Roads
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) members gather at Ghazipur border as part of their 'Delhi Chalo' protest on Saturday. (PTI)
Attempting to end the impasse with farmers of Punjab and Haryana, the Union government has offered to speak to them before December 3 if they shift to Burari ground in Delhi and not block roads. In an appeal, Home Minister Amit Shah said the government was willing to address all issues but farmers should not inconvenience others by blocking roads.
"I want to appeal to all protesting farmers that we are ready to have a word with you, we are ready to talk to you," news agency ANI quoted him as saying. "Delhi Police has already given you a space to conduct your protest. You will have toilets, ambulance and facilities for water supply at the location. I request you to come to this ground and not protest on roads."
Delhi police after consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs had offered Sant Nirankari ground in North Delhi's Burari to farmers to carry on their agitation. But many farmer groups continued to gather at Haryana-Delhi border roads overnight and refused to end their agitation before reaching central Delhi. Farmers protesting against the Centre's recently passed three farm laws have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates. They have demanded immediate talks with the Union government and an assurance about MSP in the laws.
Shah said even though Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar has already invited farmers for talks on December 3, the government was willing to meet them earlier too.
"Our Agriculture Minister has already given you an invite for December 3. If you want to have talks with the government before then, we can accommodate that as well," he said.
The agitation has meant complete disruption of traffic from Delhi to NCR regions of Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, etc. Metro services towards Delhi from these cities have been suspended, road traffic has been majorly obstructed. Shah referred to this when he said, "I request you again to move to the designated ground...this will decrease traffic jams and other inconveniences that are being caused. I appeal to all the protesting farmers to move to the grounds set up for you so that we can begin our talks."
Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh earlier questioned the stand of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and the Union government on the farmer issue. Speaking to CNN-News18, Singh said, "No political party is involved in this, this protest is spontaneous. These farmers are from Haryana and Punjab, I know which groups have marched from Punjab but Khattar clearly does not know what is happening with his farmers. We would like to have a resolution, I don't want my farmers to freeze."
Backing the MSP demand, Singh said, "I have never said corporates should be stopped. All I have said is that existing markets should remain. No matter how bad the situation is, they will only end with a negotiation. The government knew they are coming to Delhi...they could have resolved this matter."
Meanwhile, famers' unions continued to march to Delhi from Meham in Rohtak and Julana in Jind in Haryana and also from parts of western UP.