A group of 29 farmer leaders from Haryana met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today to show support to the new farm laws, amid an escalating protest by farmers who want the laws to be withdrawn.
The delegation led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Mann) leader Guni Prakash gave a “letter of support” to Mr Tomar on the farm laws passed by parliament in September.
“We will also protest if the government repeals the laws. We have given a memorandum to all districts,” Mr Prakash told reporters after the meeting.
“Everyone has a right to protest. They have, so do we. We are in support of the three laws, but this protest is being led by Leftists and those who are violent,” Mr Prakash said. “It has taken a political colour. Farmers will get real freedom through these three laws,” he added.
This was the second group of farmers from Haryana that met Mr Tomar and gave support to the farm laws. The first group met the Union Minister on December 7.
There has been no breakthrough in the talks between the protesting farmers and the government. The farmers, who are dug in on the border between Delhi and Haryana and other places in the National Capital Region, have said they will end their protest only if the government withdrew the three laws. The centre has said it is willing to amend the laws and hear out objections.
The three laws have been presented by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers fear that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of minimum support price and scrap wholesale markets, leaving them at the mercy of big companies.
The centre has said the minimum support price and the mandi system would continue.