Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Sunday penned an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a slew of issues including the Minimum Support Price, the Electricity Bill 2020, the withdrawal of cases against farmers and Lakhimpur Kheri.
They also demanded withdrawal of cases against farmers and building a memorial for those who lost their lives during protests against the contentious farm laws. While thanking Modi for announcing repeal of the three farm laws, the SKM alleged, "After 11 rounds of talks, you chose the path of unilateral declaration rather than a bilateral solution."
In the letter, the umbrella body of farmers' unions also demanded compensation and rehabilitation support for their families of farmers who died during the protest.
SKM's Open Letter To PM Modi
SKM states six demands which includes legalizing MSP & compensation for families of farmers who lost their lives.@rupashreenanda shares details.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) November 21, 2021
The letter read: "Dear Prime Minister, Crores of farmers of the country heard your address to the nation on the morning of 19th November 2021. We noted that after 11 rounds of talks, you chose the path of unilateral declaration rather than a bilateral solution; nonetheless, we are glad that you have announced the decision to withdraw all three farm laws. We welcome this announcement and hope that your government will fulfill this promise at the earliest and in full."
The letter went on to state six demands: That the Minimum Support Price based on the comprehensive cost of production (C2+50%) should be made a legal entitlement of all farmers for all agricultural produce so that every farmer of the country can be guaranteed at least the MSP announced by the government for their entire crop; Withdrawal of the draft "Electricity Amendments Bill, 2020/2021" proposed by the government; removal of the penal provisions on farmers in the "Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021"; thousands of farmers have been implicated in hundreds of cases during this movement (June 2020 till date) in Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and several other states. These cases should be withdrawn immediately; the sacking and arrest of Ajay Mishra Teni; compensation and rehabilitation support for the families of the 700 farmers who died during the movement and that land be given at Singhu Border to build to build a martyrs' memorial in the memory of the farmers.
The letter concluded by urging the government to resume talks with the SKM over the above issues and said that the organisation would continue the movement until then.
Briefing media earlier on Sunday, farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal had said, "We will write an open letter to Prime Minister mentioning the pending demands including MSP Committee, its rights, its time frame, its duties; Electricity Bill 2020 and the withdrawal of cases against farmers. We will also write to him to sack the Minister Ajay Mishra Teni over Lakhimpur Kheri incident."
However, the farmer leader welcomed the step of farm laws roll back announced by Prime Minister Modi and said, "It was a good step, we welcome it. But a lot of things still remain."
"We discussed repeal of farm laws. After this, some decisions were taken. SKM's predecided programs will continue as it is - Kisan panchayat in Lucknow on 22 November gatherings at all borders on 26November and a march to Parliament on 29 November," he said.
Rajewal said that another meeting of SKM will be held on 27 November 27 to discuss way future course of action.
"For a decision on further developments, another meeting of SKM will be held on 27 November . The decision will be taken on the basis of the situation until then," he added
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha will be holding a mahapanchayat in Lucknow on Monday in a show of strength days after the prime minister's announcement of repealing the three farm laws.
The gathering scheduled to be held at Eco Garden in the city was planned several months before Friday's announcement.
Farmer leaders said the protests will continue until the government makes a law on minimum support price (MSP) and removes Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra.
In a tweet in Hindi on Sunday, Bhartiya Kisan Union national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, "Chalo Lucknow Chalo Lucknow (lets go to Lucknow) for MSP Adhikaar Kisaan Mahapanchayat. The agriculture reforms being talked about are fake and cosmetic. The farm reforms are not going to stop the plight of the farmers. The biggest reform for the farmers and agriculture will be to make a law pertaining to the MSP."
Vice-president of Uttar Pradesh unit of BKU Harnam Singh Verma told PTI, "The prime minister has announced the repeal of the three farm laws, but he did not say when the MSP law will be made. Until a law is made on the MSP, and Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra is removed, the agitation will continue."
Verma also said a number of other issues will also be discussed at the farmers' mahapanchayat. "The BJP had said (during the previous Assembly elections in UP) that once it forms the government in the state, payment will be made to the sugarcane farmers within 14 days, but this mechanism could not be implemented in the state. In a span of four-and-a-half years, the increase in sugarcane price was barely Rs 25," he said.
Violence had erupted in Lakhimpur Kheri district on 3 October when farmers were protesting the visit of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Mishra's native place. Four agitating farmers were run over by a vehicle while four others, including a journalist and two BJP workers, were also killed in ensuing violence.
SKM, an umbrella body of the agitating unions, met earlier on Sunday to decide on the next course of action, including on the MSP issue and the proposed daily tractor march to Parliament during the upcoming Winter Session.
Farmer leaders have been maintaining that the protesters will stay put at border areas of Delhi until the Centre formally repeals these laws in Parliament after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise announcement on Friday and have indicated their stir for a statutory guarantee of MSP and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill will continue.