Three hundred and sixty-five days and counting – that’s how long farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western UP have been camping at Delhi’s borders. However, it now seems that the year-long agitation is nearing its end.
The tug of war between the central government and the protesting farmers continues, with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha yet to take a call on the future course of action for the agitation.
A union of nearly 40 farmers’ outfits, SKM has been spearheading the agitation against the Centre’s farm laws since November of last year. Reacting to PM Modi’s decision to repeal the three farm laws, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had written to the Prime Minister on November 21 with a list of six demands.
READ: Decision on ending farmers’ protest to be taken on Dec 8, SKM’s call will be final: Rakesh Tikait
The central government (Home Ministry) on Tuesday sent a detailed proposal to the farmers’ union days after the three farm laws were repealed through a Bill passed in both houses of Parliament.
Sources told India Today that the latest proposal by the central government was debated among farmer leaders at the Singhu border for nearly five hours on Tuesday. A number of SKM leaders expressed satisfaction over the Centre’s call to take initiative to resolve the standoff.
A majority of the farmers are willing to end the agitation, given the fact that their main demand – repeal of farm laws – has been met.
However, some factions, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) led by Rakesh Tikait are against the idea of ending the agitation before a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) is put in place.
What is Govt’s 5-point proposal
1. Both PM Modi and Agriculture minister Tomar have announced the formation of a committee for the regulation of MSP. The panel will comprise representatives of the central and state governments, farmers’ outfits and agricultural scientists in addition to leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
2. Governments in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have agreed to immediately withdraw all cases against protesting farmers once the agitation is brought to an end.
3. Both Haryana and UP governments have agreed in principle to provide compensation for the next of kin of farmers who reportedly died during the agitation. An announcement in this regard has also been made by the Punjab government.
4. Views of all stakeholders will be taken into consideration before the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 is tabled in Parliament.
5. The Government of India has passed a Bill to exempt farmers from criminal liability in cases of stubble burning.
Farmers’ 3-point counter to Govt proposal
1. Officials involved in drafting the three farm laws must be excluded from the committee on MSP. The panel must include only farmer leaders affiliated with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
2. Cases against protesting farmers must be withdrawn before a final decision is taken to end the agitation.
3. Government has agreed in principle but should first compensate the families of those farmers who lost their lives during the year-long stir.
Moving in right direction: Yogendra Yadav
Farmer leader Dr Darshan Pal told India Today, “The draft proposal has come from the Home Ministry and Home Minister Amit Shah. This is the beginning of dialogue between Centre and SKM.”
“The central government has put up conditions before withdrawing cases against farmers, that is the main bone of contention,” he added.
Farmers to call off protest? Crucial meeting going on at Singhu border. @AishPaliwal gets us this report. #FarmersProtest #ITVideo pic.twitter.com/qu0YScA480
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) December 7, 2021
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, who has been at the centre of the stir, told India Today, “Things are moving in the right direction. We want to bring this agitation to a conclusion and we are approaching the issue with an open mind.”
“The final call on the future of the protest will be taken tomorrow, representatives of farmers’ unions will meet tomorrow,” he said on Tuesday.
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