Next round of farmers' meeting with government on December 9
Representatives of the protesting Farmers and the government sat down for the fifth round of talks on Saturday amid the brouhaha over the Centre's new agricultural bills. The next round of talks will now be held on December 9 (Wednesday). Earlier, the farmers had threatened to walk out of the meeting if the government remained indecisive on their demands. Here are more details.
Government will send proposal on December 9: Farmer leader
At the request of all stakeholders, it was decided at the meeting that the next round of talks will be held on December 9. After the meeting concluded, a farmer leader told ANI, "The Centre has said that they will send us a proposal on December 9. We will discuss it amongst ourselves after which a meeting with them will be held that day."
Agriculture Minister asks senior protesters to return home
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who led the talks with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, said after the meeting, "I appeal to all of you to kindly ask senior citizens and children, at the protest site, to go home."
'Bharat bandh on December 8 will go on'
Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait told ANI, "The government will prepare a draft for us. They said they will consult the states, too. Discussions were held on MSP, but we said that we should take up the laws and talks about their rollback." Speaking about the planned nationwide shutdown on Tuesday, Tikait said, "Bharat bandh will go on as announced."
'It seems government will repeal laws'
All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah said they do not want amendments, but a complete withdrawal of the laws. Speaking about the upcoming Wednesday meeting, Mollah said, "It seems the government will definitely roll back the laws."
What happened during the meeting?
The farmers had demanded a written reply to their last meeting (held on Thursday). They had demanded written assurances on extending Minimum Support Prices (MSP). They also threatened to walk out from the meeting if the government remained indecisive, demanding a solution or commitment. The farmers asserted that they do not want corporate farming, claiming only the government will benefit from the laws.
Today is last day of discussions: Farmers said before meeting
The farmers appear to have softened their stance after the meeting. Earlier, a farmer leader had said, "The government has just been issuing dates. All organizations have unanimously decided that today's the last day for discussion." Demanding a complete rollback of the three farm laws, the farmers had planned a nationwide shutdown on Tuesday and threatened to block all roads leading to Delhi.
Previous four rounds of talks remained inconclusive
Saturday's meeting marked the fifth round of talks to address the farmers' concerns. The last two rounds were held in the past week after the farmers reached Delhi as part of their 'Dilli Chalo' ("let's go to Delhi") protest. The government had earlier said that they will consider some demands, such as further strengthening APMC mandis, grievance redressal in courts, stubble burning, etc.
What are the farmers protesting about?
For months, farmers have protested the laws that were passed in September. The protests intensified over the past week as thousands of farmers from several states reached Delhi, braving a heavy police crackdown. Farmers fear that by allowing trade outside APMC mandis, the laws will weaken the mandis and they would be deprived of MSPs, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations.