Farmers' unions have decided to continue with their movement and planned demonstrations, including "Sansad Chalo" (march to Parliament) on 29 November, despite the surprise announcement by the prime minister that the three farm laws will be repealed. On Monday, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers' unions, held a mahapanchayat in Lucknow pertaining to several issues, including law on MSP guarantee.
— Rakesh Tikait (@RakeshTikaitBKU) November 22, 2021
Earlier, the SKM had written an open letter to Modi raising their pending demands. It has put forth six demands before the government, including withdrawal of the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill (2020-2021), removal of penal provisions in the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act-2021, withdrawal of cases against farmers in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states, sacking of MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra whose son is an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri killings, land at Singu to raise a memorial to 700 farmers who died during the agitation and compensation for their families.
Farmer union Bhartiya Kisan Union Rakesh Tikait on Monday said, besides repealing the three farm laws, there are many issues of farmers that need to be resolved. "It seems that after announcing the repeal of the three farm laws, the government does not want to speak to the farmers. The government should make it clear that it has repealed the laws in the true sense and talk to us so that we can start moving to our villages," Mr Tikait told PTI at the Eco Garden, the venue for the 'mahapanchayat'.
"The panchayat is being held against the incident that took place in Lakhimpur Kheri. The amount has not been paid for the sugarcane, it is related to that as well. More than Rs 4,000 crore is due now. The farmers growing potatoes are upset, the crops are procured as per the MSP. The central government has decided to roll back the three laws, the state government should write to the Centre regarding other issues. We want the correct price for the crops, withdrawal of the cases that were registered. The panchayat has been scheduled to discuss all of these," he added.
Shekhar Dixit, president of Rashtriya Kisan Manch, said, "The PM made the announcement about repealing of farm laws with an eye on the upcoming assembly elections in UP and other states, where the BJP is seeing power slipping away from its hands."
"We don't trust the announcement made by the Prime Minister. We will believe that the farm laws are taken back only after we see a government gazette regarding it," said farm leader Joginder Singh Ugaraha.
Despite the prime minister's surprise announcement, farmer leaders have maintained that the protesters won't budge until the three contentious laws are formally repealed in Parliament.
Meanwhile, besides Monday's mahapanchayat, the farmers' unions are yet to hold Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Diwas on Chhotu Ram’s birth anniversary on 24 November, the "Dilli Border Morche pe Chalo" on 26 November, a meeting on November 27 to decide the future course of action regarding the ongoing protest against farm laws and Sansad Chalo on November 29.
With input from agencies