Farmers protesting the centre’s new farm laws held two meetings between themselves.

New Delhi:
Farmers protesting the new farm laws say today’s talks – the fourth since protests began in September – is the centre’s “last chance” to call an emergency session of parliament and recall the controversial legislations. Speaking after two internal meets to chalk out their strategy, they also warned the centre against sowing discord in their ranks by recasting the protests as being driven by Punjab farmers only. Farmers across the country stand “united in their demands” and will continue to protest till the “black” laws are recalled, they said. At least three deaths have been recorded during these protests and the farmers said it would be “inhuman” on the centre’s part – given the cold weather – to drag this out any further. Union Home Minister Amit Shah will meet Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today, ahead of the centre’s crucial meeting with farmers’ representatives, sources said.

Here are the top 10 updates on farmers’ protest:

  1. “We ask the government not to indulge in any divisive agendas with regard to the farmers’ movement, which is united in its demand. This was clear from Tuesday’s meeting,” the Samyukt Kisan Morcha said Wednesday, referring to the third round of talks – between union ministers and reps from 32 farmers’ organisations – that yielded no breakthrough.

  2. Dr Darshan Pal, President of the Krantikari Kisan Union, said: “The government tried to show this movement is only Punjab farmers… tried to divide us.” To reinforce the protest’s pan-India nature, he said farmer leaders from other states must be invited to the talks. He also said protests would “continue till all three laws are repealed” and suggested the centre call a special session of Parliament to do so.

  3. “We’ll burn effigies in every district of Maharashtra on Thursday and on December 5 in Gujarat. (This) is the last chance for the government to take a decision to repeal the laws, otherwise this movement will become huge and the government will fall,” Pratibha Shinde of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha, was quoted by news agency ANI.

  4. Shortly after the farmers held their press conference Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar appealed to them to continue with the talks. “Let’s see to what extent issues can be resolved… the laws are in their interest and the reforms have been done after a long wait, but if they have any objection to it we are ready to address concerns,” he said. Home Minister Amit Shah, several of his cabinet colleagues and BJP chief JP Nadda have held several internal meetings of their own over the past few days. 

  5. Some farmers appear uncertain of the talks leading to any real progress. “Going by Tuesday’s meeting, we don’t think the government is in a mood to withdraw the laws… want farmers to fight among themselves,” one leader said. Another referred to the centre’s request for written details of “specific concerns” about the laws – details, he said, that had been provided in October. “But it will be given in writing again,” he added.

  6. The farmers also shot down, again, the centre’s proposal to form a committee to take talks forward. “Given the failure of earlier such efforts, we see no point in this,” they said, pointing out that the centre rarely acted on committee suggestions. “Farmers can see through the ploy of meaningless ‘expert panels’,” they said. On Tuesday, when the centre first pitched this idea, they were told “now is not the time for committees”.

  7. Sources have said the centre is unlikely to recall the laws, making it necessary for the two sides to reach a compromise for the protest to end. To that end, the farmers have acknowledged that initiating of “unconditional” talks by the centre was a “welcome step forward”. Previously talks had been offered on condition that farmers move to what they feared were police-secured protest venues, or open-air jails.

  8. Over the past few days farmers from BJP-ruled Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have also spoken out, as have those from Rajasthan, Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra farmers have called for a state-wide stir and farmers from Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior district have set out to join the Delhi protests, in what has become one of the biggest such movements in recent years.

  9. In their statement on Wednesday, the farmers said “tens of thousands… including mothers, children and elderly are sitting peacefully and patiently for the past 7 days… braving the chill with determination. Three deaths have already been reported. It would be inhuman on the part of government to not resolve genuine and legitimate demands”.

  10. The protests have affected traffic coming in and out of Delhi. The following border crossings are shut – Singhu, Tikri, Ghaziabad, Jharoda, Jhatikra and Auchandi, with authorities ready to shut down the key Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway also, if needed. The Lampur and Chilla borders are partially open. The crossings that are open are Kalindi Kunj, Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Dundahera and Palam Vihar.


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