Farmers’ protest | Won’t appear before ‘pro-government’ panel appointed by Supreme Court, say farmer unions
“The members of the Supreme Court-appointed committee are not dependable as they have been writing on how agri laws are pro-farmer. We will continue our agitation,” farmer leader Balbeer Singh Rajewal told the press conference.
Farmer unions protesting against the new agriculture-marketing laws on Tuesday disapproved of the Supreme Court-appointed committee to break the deadlock over the acts, and said they will not appear before the panel and continue their agitation.
Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border in New Delhi, union leaders claimed the members of committee formed by the top court are “pro-government”.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the controversial farm laws till further orders and set up a four-member committee to resolve the impasse between the Centre and the farmer unions protesting at Delhi’s borders over the legislations.
“The members of the SC-appointed committee are not dependable as they have been writing on how agri laws are pro-farmer. We will continue our agitation,” farmer leader Balbeer Singh Rajewal told the press conference.
The farmer leader said that unions never demanded the apex court form a committee to resolve the impasse over the laws, alleging the Central government is behind these developments.
“We are against the committee on principle. It is the government’s way to distract attention from the protest,” he said.
The framer leaders said the Supreme Court can repeal the farm laws suo motu.
Another farmer leader Darshan Pal Singh said they will not appear before any committee, adding Parliament should discuss and resolve this issue.
“We don’t want any external committee,” he said.
However, the farmer leaders said they would attend the January 15 meeting with the government.
The four members of the committee are BKU president Bhupinder Singh Mann, Shetkeri Sangathana (Maharashtra) president Anil Ghanwat, South Asia Director for International Food Policy Research Institute Pramod Kumar Joshi, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati.
Before the Samyukt Kisan Morcha meeting Mr. Singh, the Krantikari Kisan Union president, said, “See how the Supreme Court is playing with the emotions of farmers…All the members of the committee whose names we have heard have already declared themselves in favour of the three laws, so what is the point of this fraud exercise?”
“I know Bhupinder Singh Mann, he is from Punjab, and he has already met the Agriculture Minister and expressed support for the laws. Anil Ghanwat is from the Shetkari Sangathan, both do not speak for farmers interests. [Agricultural economist] Ashok Gulati is known to be a government man,” he stated. Mr. Joshi, the former South Asia director of the International Food Policy Research Institute had also written about need for these farm reforms.
He said the lawyer team representing farmers had not appeared before the court on Tuesday, as they had already taken the decision on Monday night not to participate in the proceedings of any committee set up by the court. “We will not appear in front of this committee. Our agitation will continue and our demands remain the same,” he added.
In Rohtak, Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav held an impromptu press conference. “The SC has said it will suspend the implementation of the three laws for a certain time. That is not our demand. Our demand is for the laws to be completely repealed. So our protest will continue,” he said. “If the Supreme Court wants to set up a committee for its own purposes, it is free to do so. Whoever it wants to hear from in this committee, let it do so. But the farm unions are very clear that we will not take part,” he added.
On the U.P. border in Ghazipur, Bharatiya Kisan Union-Tikait spokesperson Rakesh Tikait was more measured in his response. “We thank the Honourable Supreme Court for the positive attitude that it has shown towards the farmers,” he said. “The demand of the farmers is to repeal the three laws and make the minimum support price into a new law. The movement will continue till this demand is met. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha will announce its future strategy after examining the order of Hon’ble Supreme Court,” he added.
(With inputs in PTI)
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(the headline, this story has not been published by Important India News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)