Firm stand on farm laws

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After 40 days of peaceful non-violent satyagrah, a situation reminiscent of the famous 1942 ‘Do or Die’ movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi, is fast emerging on the political horizon with the farmers’ not willing to accept anything below scrapping of the 3 black farm laws and providing legal status to the MSP acquiring a new dimension and dynamics. The farmers plan to organise the twice-rescheduled tractor rally on the KMP (Western Periphery) Expressway as practice for January 26. On January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, farmers across the country will march to their respective Raj Bhavans since the governors represent the central government in the states. Though the Modi government has been inviting the farmers to the table to discuss their problems, its obstinacy to accept their pleas has been at the root of talks. So far 7 rounds of talks have been held, but shockingly the government has not shown its eagerness to find a solution. Though the agriculture minister announced that the 8th round of discussion will take place on January 8, going by the mood and posture of Narendra Modi it can safely be said that it would also prove to be a futile exercise.

On the other hand, the farmer leaders also made it absolutely clear by stating, “We will not agree to any alternatives.” It is indeed shocking that the Modi government has been pushing its own people to the wall and forcing them to resort to a protracted struggle. While the Modi government has been maintaining the façade of engaging the farmers in dialogue, farmers’ organisation All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), has come out with the accusation that the police in Haryana has been resorting to violent action against them. Additionally, 35 students of Panjab University have written to Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and other judges of the Supreme Court seeking an inquiry into alleged police atrocities on the farmers protesting at Delhi borders.

Meanwhile, in a major move Reliance Industries has distanced itself from the contentious farm laws which is being viewed as a major setback to the Modi government. RIL has said it neither buys food grains directly from farmers nor is in the business of contract farming. On the vandalism of towers and telecom infrastructure owned by Jio, the company moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking urgent intervention of the government. With the Modi government determined not to accede to the farmers’ demands of not allowing unregulated private ‘markets’ in competition with APMCs; giving a legal guarantee for MSP; and not allowing the entry of corporates into purchase of and trade in agricultural produce, the farmers’ are left with no other alternative but to take their struggle to new heights. This is for the first time since Independence that India has been witnessing this nature of complete non-violent, peaceful protest which has been witness to the death of 57 innocent farmers at the protest site. Farmer union leaders have also warned the government that it should not take their agitation lightly. The warning came a day after the younger generation of protesters gathered at Shahjahanpur on the Rajasthan-Haryana border and pushed their way past barricades.

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