Won't attend meeting with SC-appointed panel: BKU's Rakesh Tikait
On Tuesday, the spokesperson for Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Rakesh Tikait said farmer unions will not be attending the first meeting with the panel formed by Supreme Court to end the deadlock persisting between them and the Centre. He said the laws, at the center of the agitation, will return via the same path they came, i.e., through the Parliament. Here are more details.
Last week, the top court formed a four-member panel, saying that it will help understand farmers' concerns. To recall, farmers have been protesting at Delhi's borders since November demanding a repeal of three laws, that they argue will leave them at the mercy of big corporate players. The government, unwilling to do so, has spoken with them nine times but to no avail.
The bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also stayed the implementation of laws. While this stay was welcomed, the farmers fumed at the committee's formation. They said the Centre was shying away from its responsibility and also claimed that all members supported the laws earlier. After much controversy, Bhupinder Singh Mann, one of the member, recused himself from the panel.
Indicating the same reservation about the committee, Tikait said, "We don't know, we're not going to attend the meeting. Nobody from the agitation approached the court. (sic)" Reminding that the government brought the laws through an ordinance, he added, "It'll go back the same route it came from." In sharp contrast, the government said earlier that it would honor SC's verdict.
Meanwhile, the tenth round of talks between farmers and the government, scheduled for today, will now be held tomorrow. One of the reasons to delay the meeting was the involvement of people "having other ideologies," claimed reports. "The government's ministerial meeting with farmers unions will be held on January 20 at 2 pm at Vigyan Bhawan, instead of January 19," the Agriculture Ministry said.
On a related note, the government and farmers are also at loggerheads over the latter's plans to take out a tractor march on Republic Day in Delhi. Yesterday, SC, whom the Centre urged to intervene, commented that the first authority, in this case, is Delhi Police and it should decide on who should be allowed to enter the national capital and who shouldn't.