Ready to hold talks but stand remains same, say farmer leaders

NEW DELHI: Protesting farmer leaders on Wednesday reiterated that a complete repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee on MSP are their main demands, after the government said it was ready to resume talks and asked them to point out their objections to the provisions of legislation.

“Our main demands have always been the repeal of the three laws and a written guarantee on MSP. These are the main issues, and this why we are protesting, and we will keep protesting. We are prepared to continue till 2024.

“Our stand remains the same. Repeal the three laws, give us a written guarantee on MSP, if the government is ready to talk on this, then we are ready. Now, it is up to the government to decide about the meeting,” said farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday said the government is ready to resume talks with protesting farmers but asked the unions to point out their objections to the provisions of the three farm laws with sound logic.

Kakka, however pointed out that the problems with laws had already been pointed out in the 11 rounds of talks that had happened between the government and the farmers.

“The government does not want us to tell the problems with the laws. That we have already done. It essentially wants to talk to us only if it is about anything besides the black laws. We have sacrificed more than 555 farmers, and have sat in protest for over six months, so the agriculture minister’s statement today is strange and irresponsible,” the farmer leader said.

The last round of talks were held on January 22 to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest.

Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.

Talking about the government’s approach towards resolving the deadlock on the farmers’ issue, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) in a statement on Wednesday said that the government’s attitude towards resolving the issue was “anti-farmer”.

“While the prime minister superciliously says that the government is just one call away, the real anti-farmer attitude of the government is very apparent. Protesting farmers repeat and reiterate that the government’s attitude is unjustifiable and unreasonable, and is resting on ego and optics’ games. Farmers demand a full repeal of the three central laws and a new legislation to guarantee MSP for all farmers,” the SKM said in a statement.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Delhi’s borders for more than six months in protest against the three laws that they say will end state procurement of crops at MSP.

The Supreme Court has put on hold the implementation of the three laws till further orders and set up a committee to find solutions.