‘Farmers disappointed, angry over government tactics’

Focus now on stir intensification, Republic Day tractor rally

Politics

January 22, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

‘Farmers disappointed, angry over government tactics’

The 11th round of discussion between the government and farmers’ unions ended in a stalemate (MIG photos/Varsha Singh)

As the 11th round of talks between the Central government and leaders of farmers protesting against three farm laws ended in a stalemate, farmers accuse the government of dishonesty in negotiations and say they will intensify the agitation across the country and now focus on making a massive impact on January 26 with their Republic Day parade.

“We are extremely disappointed and sad by the attitude of the government that has led the charade of discussing seriously with us during 11 rounds of talks, to finally leave the discussions mid-way. There is a lot of anger amongst the farmers, but now our focus is on making the tractor rally on the Republic Day a big success,” Baldev Singh Sirsa, leader of Lok Insaf Bhalai Society, and one of 40-odd leaders of farmers who took part in the discussions on Friday, tells Media India Group.

Sirsa added that the government’s attitude in the meeting displayed their true intentions – which was to buy time and mount a façade of concern for the farmers, while all the time protecting the interests of a handful of business houses which stand to benefit from the new farm laws. “They have said they can hold the new farm laws in abeyance for upto 18 months or so. The Supreme Court has also put a stay on their implementation. So what has stopped them from just repealing the laws?” asks Sirsa.

D Sunilam, member of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, a body that groups representatives of 250 farmer organisations from across the country, said that the farmers’ agitation would now be intensified even further. “We already have protests going on in over 200 places all over the country. Now, we will intensify these protests and also start them in more places. Also, for the Republic Day, there are dozens of events and protest marches programmed in all states of the country. We were talking with sincerity with the government, but with today’s response of the government, we have no choice now but to focus on our agitation and ensure that it continues to gain strength so that the pressure on the government keeps on mounting,” Sunilam tells Media India Group.

Sunilam said that the fact that the government could not bring itself to repeal the law and agree to the key demands of the farmers about prohibiting corporatisation of farming indicated that it was acting at the behest of large corporates and was beholden to them.

Regarding the R-Day preparations, Sirsa expressed fears that the Bharatiya Janata Party may try to incite violence against the farmers. “Please see the letter issued by Rajesh Bhatia of Delhi BJP calling for action, including violence, against protesting farmers to prevent the tractor rally. The letter was disseminated all over, but now the BJP claims that the letter was fake. However, it is clear that this letter was indeed meant to incite people to attack the farmers,” Sirsa said.

Sunilam says that though the farmers feel let down by the government, they are determined to continue the protests, even as they enter their third month on the borders of Delhi. “When the farmers left for Delhi, they were prepared for at least six months’ stay here. So they had rations, fuel etc for six months. Barely two months have gone by. So there is no question of morale going down. It will only go up, looking at the attitude of the government and if need be, now we will carry on the protests for even a year,” he warns.

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