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February 25, 2024
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Farmers Plan To March To Parliament During Monsoon Session

Tawqeer Hussain

Farmers protesting the government’s three contentious agricultural laws enacted last year have decided to intensify their protest in the National Capital during the upcoming monsoon session of the Indian parliament.

In a meeting by members of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of various farmers groups, the farmers proposed to ‘Gherao’ the Parliament during the entire duration of the monsoon session, setting a stage for the fresh deadlock between the farm Unions and the government.

A group of around 200 farmers will protest against the Centre’s three farm laws outside Parliament every day during the monsoon session, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) said on Sunday.

SKM added that “Two days before the session begins, a “chetavani patra” (warning letter) will be given to all Opposition MPs to protest the laws inside the House.”

“This is an ultimatum. We can’t wait forever and we are being forced to move into the Capital,” Gurnam Singh Charuni, a farm leader, said. Parliament convenes on July 19 for its monsoon session.

The farm unions said they will intensify their protests, move protesters along with their tractors to the vicinity of Parliament and also organize demonstrations across the country.

In November last year, thousands of farmers had pitched tents at five sites near Delhi’s borders — Singhu, Ghaziabad, Tikri, Dhansa, and Shahjahanpur (on the Rajasthan-Haryana border) — from where they have been carrying on their protests.

The call by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha to march into the Capital is likely to be met with resistance from the Delhi Police because such protests near Parliament are barred. On January 26, a tractor rally by the farmers on Republic Day in the national capital turned violent when protesters clashed with policemen and breached the Red Fort.

The farm unions’ platform said nothing short of repeal of the laws would be acceptable to them and “mere tinkering here and there will not work”.

“Ministers have been stating that the government is ready for talks, provided that the farmers are ready to discuss provisions that they have problems with. The ministers are also stating that the government will not repeal the three black central laws. Farmers have already clearly stated why amendments will not work,” Darshan Pal, a key leader of the unions, said.

The farmers allege that the laws enacted by the Narendra Modi-led government to liberalize farm trade will leave them at the mercy of large corporations and jeopardize their livelihoods.

So far, the government and farmer’s leadership have held 11 rounds of talks to end the deadlock, the last one was held on January 22. However, both sides have not reached any conclusion so far.

 

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