The seventh round of talks between the Centre and the protesting farmers today yielded no results as both sides remained firm on their demands. The two key issues that were discussed are the repeal of the three agriculture laws and giving legal status to the minimum support price guarantee in the next round of talks. The farmers, camping out at the Delhi borders amid the bitter cold and rains, have warned that they will hold a tractor rally on Republic Day if their demands are not met.
In the last round of meetings, the Centre said the two sides had come to an understanding on two of the four demands of the farmers - withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill and the penal provisions for stubble burning in the Air Quality Commission Ordinance.
But the deadlock has persisted over the repeal of the three farm laws passed in September that had the farmers up in arms.
Here are the highlights on farmers' protests:
Madhya Pradesh agriculture minister Kamal Patel on Monday said farmers protesting at the Delhi borders against the Centre's new agri laws have rejected pleas to end their stir as they are "pretending to sleep" and it is not possible to "wake" such people up. Mr Patel's comments came in the backdrop of the agitating farmers ignoring repeated pleas by the Centre to end their over one-month-long stir and on a day when another round of talks between the two sides ended inconclusively in New Delhi. "They (agitators) are not listening to us as we can wake up a person who is actually sleeping, but not the ones who are pretending to sleep," he told reporters.
Launching an attack on the BJP-led Union government, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president Kumari Selja on Monday said the government should repeal the three agriculture sector laws if it wants to solve the problems and issues of agitating farms, reported news agency ANI.
"If the government wants, it can find a solution to farmers' problems. It should not be adamant and should listen to the farmers. Farmers are saying that there is no need for these farm laws and nobody demanded them. The government should listen to them,"Ms Selja said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that her government will bring a resolution against the farm laws in the state Assembly, reported news agency ANI.
"I am in favour of farmers and want the withdrawal of these three bills for the sake of the country and farmers. Before the bills came in, they had godowns made. Their political intention is clear and that's why they are not taking it back," Ms Banerjee said.
The National Students' Union of India (NSUI) today began a cycle rally against the Centre's three new farm laws, reported news agency PTI. The rally, which was flagged off by Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Govind Singh Dotasra and other leaders from Amar Jawan Jyoti in Jaipur, is scheduled to end in New Delhi tomorrow. Led by NSUI national president Neeraj Kundan, hundreds of members of the Congress' students' wing are cycling to the national capital. "The participants are camping in Behror on Monday night and will leave for New Delhi on Tuesday morning," NSUI spokesperson Ramesh Bhati said.
"Discussion took place on our demands -- repeal of the three laws and MSP... Kannon wapasi nahi, toh ghar wapasi nahi (We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn)," Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union told news agency ANI after the meeting today.
Hannan Mollah, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha said that they don't want a discussion on any other topic except for rollback of the farm laws.
"The government is under tremendous pressure. We all said that this is our demand (repeal of the laws). We don't want a discussion on any other topic except for on repealing of the laws. Protests will not be withdrawn until laws are withdrawn," Mr Mollah said.
Haryana Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said the Congress Legislature Party will provide financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to families of farmers who have died during the agitation against the Centre's farm laws, reported news agency PTI. Mr Hooda said all Congress MLAs will make efforts to help the families. The state government should also provide financial help and government job to a member of the each family, he demanded.
Thirty-five Panjab University students have written to Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and other judges of the Supreme Court seeking an inquiry into alleged police atrocities on the farmers protesting at Delhi borders against the three farm laws, reported news agency PTI. Aanchal Sawa, one of the signatories of the letter, told news agency PTI that the top court registry has provided the diary number to the letter which may be registered and heard as a Public Interest Litigation.
Famers' Union Leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said that the protesting farmers will "not agree to anything less than repeal of three farms laws", reported news agency PTI. He further said that the union leaders "will discuss only MSP issue and repeal of laws". "Government's ego problem coming in way of resolving issues," he said,
Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said he is "hopeful of solution" in the January 8 meeting with the farmers. "Today's talks happened in cordial atmosphere, but unions were stuck on one point," he said, reported news agency PTI.
"We wanted farmer unions to discuss the three laws clause-wise. We could not reach any solution as farmer unions remained adamant on the repeal of the laws," Mr Tomar said, reported news agency ANI.
However, the minister said he is "hopeful" that a conclusion will be found in the next round of talks which will be held on January 8 at 2 pm.
With rain posing an uncalled-for challenge for the protesting farmers at the city's Singhu border, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has arranged makeshift elevated beds in the tent for them, reported news agency PTI. The tent, located right beyond the main stage, is pitched on the lower end of the highway, making it susceptible to water logging. According to Manjinder Singh, president of the DSGMC, the organisation has provided 1200 such beds across the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur protest sites for those gathered there to cope with the rain. "We have decided to provide shelter in our buses that are otherwise signed up with schools and colleges. We have replaced the seats with beds, so that farmers can sleep in them. It will also help in the rain and cold," he said, adding, "We have started with 30 buses which will be divided between Singhu and Tikri to begin with. Ghazipur, as of now, is in a better state than the other two sites."
Centre wants farmers unions to raise specific issues in the three farm laws with which they have problems, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, reported news agency PTI.
"Both sides need to make efforts to find a solution," Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar on stalemate in talks with farmers, reported news agency PTI.
Describing the BJP as "an agent of the East India Company," Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill today said the ongoing farmers' agitation is a "fight between the langar and the lathi", reported news agency ANI. "The BJP is anti-farmer, tyrannical, dictatorial and its brutal face has been exposed. Farmers of the nation are serving langar to BJP ministers while the government is showering lathi and tear gas on them. This is the fight between sons of the soil and agents of the East India Company. It is the fight between the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Nathu Ram Godse in which BJP believes," Mr Shergill told ANI.
Centre's meeting with farmer groups inconclusive. Next meeting to be held on January 8, the farmer Union leaders said, reported news agency PTI.
As more join the agitation, farmers protesting against the three farm laws at Delhi's Singhu border have installed giant LED screens and speakers to reach out to as many protesters as possible, reported news agency PTI. With the agitation entering its 37th day, the teams managing the farm unions have also equipped themselves with walki-talkies to get in touch with each other and send out messages. From LED screens to blasting loudspeakers, the ongoing farmers' protest at the Singhu border has gone hi-tech to optimise accessibility to the protestors. Two 8X10 feet LED screens have been installed near the stage, and speakers put up every few kilometres throughout the at least 10-km long stretch.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today urged the Centre to repeal the three farm laws passed in the last monsoon session of parliament, keeping in view the plight of the agitating farmers amidst cold and rain, reported news agency ANI. "Salute to the courage of our farmers who took to the streets amidst the cold and rain. I appeal to the Central government that in today's meeting, considering all the demands of farmers and repeal all three black laws," the Delhi Chief Minister tweeted.
The deadlock between the farmers union and Centre is still continuing. The farmers' leaders are firm on their demands. They have only discussed the three farm laws during the 2-hour-long talk with the Centre. While the farmers want the laws to be repealed, Centre is resolute in their solution: dicussions and alteration to the laws. Centre is pursuading the farmers' leaders to agree to changes to the law. The talks, that have resumed after the lunch break, are expected to end soon.
Talks between protesting farmers' unions and three central ministers is underway in Delhi to resolve an over-a-month-long impasse over farmers' agitation against three farm laws, but representatives of farmer groups stuck to their demand for the repeal of the Acts, reported news agency PTI. As the two sides took a lunch break after about one hour of talks, sources said the government also remained firm on not repealing the laws and is believed to have suggested a panel to take the matter forward.
Delhi: Farmers' representatives have food during the lunch break at Vigyan Bhawan where the government is holding talks with farmers on three farm laws. https://t.co/5AtK2LTB9npic.twitter.com/t12DpUKUWz- ANI (@ANI) January 4, 2021
The apprehension that farmers may lose their land under the Centre's farm laws is baseless, BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh Vyapaari Kalyan Board Chairman Ravi Kant Garg said on Monday, reported news agency PTI. The former state minister claimed that the agriculture reforms introduced by the Centre will safeguard farmers' land. The transfer, sale and mortgaging of farmers' land during the process of signing any agreement has been strictly prohibited, he said.