Farmers Reject Amit Shah Talks Offer Hinging On Venue Change: 10 Points

Farmers Protest March: The farmers' decision came after a meeting this morning, shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his monthly radio address Mann ki Baat, showed support for the farm laws.

Farmers Protest March in Delhi: Farmers have been up in arms against the new farm laws

Highlights

  • Farmers said government should have approached with "an open heart"
  • They said they will not move to government-designated protest site
  • Farmers' decision came shortly after PM praised farm laws in Mann ki Baat
New Delhi: Punjab farmers, who are protesting against the Centre's new farm laws, rejected Union home minister Amit Shah's proposal for an early discussion on their grievances, conditional to their moving to a designated protest site. The farmers said the government should have approached with "an open heart" and not put preconditions. The farmers' decision came after a meeting on Sunday morning, shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showed support for farm laws in his radio address Mann ki Baat, saying the "agricultural reforms" have "unshackled" the farmers and given them "new rights and opportunities".

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. Contending that the government is imposing conditions on the talks, the farmers said they would sit on the borders of Delhi for now. Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav is part of a 7-member committee of farmers that took the decision to turn down the offer.

  2. The government should "stop laying down any conditions... should stop assuming that the dialogue can be about "an explanation to farmers about the benefits of the Acts" and should come straight out with a proposal," a farmers' body said. "The force deployment all over the city is creating an atmosphere of terror and apprehension amongst the protesting farmers and the people of Delhi," the farmers said.

  3. "The agricultural reforms in the past few days have opened new doors of possibilities for our farmers," PM Modi said in Mann ki Baat. "The demands that have been made by farmers for years, that every political party, at some point or the other, made the promise to fulfill, those demands have been met," he added.

  4. The farmers said they would sit on the borders of Delhi for now. Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav is part of a 7-member committee of farmers that took the decision to turn down the offer.The farmers fear that the protest spots the government is suggesting can become jails – a concern that started after the Delhi Police suggestion that they be jailed in stadiums. The Arvind Kejriwal government had turned down the proposal, saying the protesters were Delhi's "guests".  

  5. On Saturday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had assured the protesters that the government was ready to deliberate on "every problem and demand".  The Centre, he said, will hold talks with the farmers' unions on December 3 and if they want discussions before that, they will have to shift their protest to a designated venue.

  6. At Delhi-Haryana border near Narela, the farmers meanwhile, broke police barricades to enter the national capital. Raising slogans and carrying flags, the farmers managed to get through the barricades on tractors, cars, motorcycles, and on foot as the police personnel deployed at the spot watched.

  7. In a tweet on Sunday, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal accused Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar of seeking to "defame farmers and their agitation". "SAD strongly condemns Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar''s statement terming our peasants who are agitating against the AntiFarmerLaws as Khalistanis. This is a conspiracy to defame the farmers and their agitation to pave the way for its repression with brutal force," his tweet read.

  8. Mr Khattar, while talking to the media on Saturday, was asked about "Khalistani elements" in the farmers' protest. "We have inputs of some such unwanted elements in the crowd," news agency ANI had quoted him as saying.

  9. After battling water cannons, tear gas and police barricades for three days during the journey through Haryana, thousands of farmers had reached Delhi borders on Friday. Those who managed to enter the city are camping at a ground in north Delhi. Others remained at the border. Thousands of farmers, living in trucks, tractors and other vehicles, refused to budge at the Singhu and Tikri borders.

  10. The farmers have been up against the farm laws, which have allowed them to bypass middlemen and sell directly to any market anywhere in the country. The farmers say the new laws will lead to phasing out of the existing system where they are assured of fixed prices from the government. The new system, they say, will also leave them at the mercy of the big corporates.


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