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Farmers' Protest Updates: Centre invites farmers' unions for next round of talks at Vigyan Bhawan, asks them to choose date

Farmers' Protest Updates: Thousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi's borders for nearly four weeks demanding repeal of the Centre's three farm laws. Several rounds of talks have failed to end the deadlock between the farmers and the government.

FP Staff December 20, 2020 23:50:25 IST
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Farmers' Protest Updates: Centre invites farmers' unions for next round of talks at Vigyan Bhawan, asks them to choose date

Farmers continue their protest against Centre's new farm laws. AP

Highlights

23:09 (ist)

Centre invites farmers' unions for next round of talks, asks them to choose date

Centre writes to protesting farmers' unions inviting them for next round of talks, asks them to choose date, reported news agency PTI. As per the Indian Express , the Union government has invited representatives of the agitating farmers for a meeting at Delhi's Vidyan Bhawan, as per their convenience. 

In a letter to the union leaders, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said, "I request those previously invited protesting union leaders to provide details of their remaining concerns and doubts and suggest a date as per convenience for next round of talks." He said the Centre is making all efforts to find appropriate solution to resolve all the issues raised by the farmers with an open mind.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Dec 20, 2020 - 23:17 (IST)

Govt committed to farmers' welfare: UP CM

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said that his government is committed to bringing prosperity in farmers' lives because their affluence would ensure the country's progress.Adityanath made the observation while inaugurating here at the Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology while inaugurating various agriculture and allied sector projects worth Rs 90 crore for various eastern UP districts including Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Basti, Balrampur, Bahraich and Barabanki.

 Speaking on the occasion, Yogi referred to the farmers' agitation against the three central farm laws and accused the opposition of misleading farmers on different aspects of laws like contract farming and the continuation of the MSP. The chief minister said the government will give guarantee to farmers to protect their interest in the case of contract farming.

PTI

Dec 20, 2020 - 23:09 (IST)

Centre invites farmers' unions for next round of talks, asks them to choose date

Centre writes to protesting farmers' unions inviting them for next round of talks, asks them to choose date, reported news agency PTI. As per the Indian Express , the Union government has invited representatives of the agitating farmers for a meeting at Delhi's Vidyan Bhawan, as per their convenience. 

In a letter to the union leaders, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said, "I request those previously invited protesting union leaders to provide details of their remaining concerns and doubts and suggest a date as per convenience for next round of talks." He said the Centre is making all efforts to find appropriate solution to resolve all the issues raised by the farmers with an open mind.

Dec 20, 2020 - 22:27 (IST)

Congress question's Modi's silence over farmers' agitation

The Congress questioned the "silence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the ongoing farmers' protests against the Centre's new farm laws and asked why he had not yet condoled the demise of 33 protesters. Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed said 33 farmers have lost their lives during the ongoing agitation and the agitating farmer unions are observing 'Shradhanjali Diwas' on Sunday. The Congress is also observing the day.
 
 
"Why is our Pradhan Mantri quiet? Why is Shri Amit Shah quiet and why is Yogi Adityanath quiet? Why hasn't PM Modi said a single word? Why is our Prime Minister 'maun' (silent)? Our 'annadatas' are sitting at the Delhi border along with their wives and children in one of the coldest winters Delhi is experiencing but our Home minister Amit Shah has no time to see them but has time to go to Bengal," she told reporters. She asked why he is not talking to 'annadatas' and alleged that the callousness of the government is on full display as lakhs of farmers are waiting for justice.

Dec 20, 2020 - 22:22 (IST)

Harish Rawat joins protest at Ghazipur border

Senior Congress leader Harish Rawat joined farmers protesting against the Centre's agricultural reform laws at the Ghazipur border on Sunday and demanded the government take back the "anti-farmer" legislations. The former Uttarakhand chief minister also paid homage to farmers who have died during the agitation. AICC member Narendra Rathi said Rawat was accompanied by several Congress office-bearers and workers.

 
"I am the son of a farmer and very well understand the problems of farmers. I demand that the central government withdraw the three anti-farmer agricultural laws," Rawat said. He paid tributes to farmers who lost their lives during the protest due to different reasons including heart attack.
 
PTI
 

Dec 20, 2020 - 22:00 (IST)

Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti extends support to farm laws

As the farmers' protest against three farm laws entered the 25th day, yet another peasants' body from western Uttar Pradesh met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday to extend support to the legislations. The Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti (HMKS) is the seventh group of farmers that has extended support to the laws in the last two weeks. The previous groups were from Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. In a representation submitted to Tomar, HMKS secretary Satish said the association fully supports the laws that are in the interest of the farming community and will end farmers' exploitation at the hands of middlemen. "We urge the government to consider some amendments to ensure that the MSP procurement continues, farmers have the freedom to sell their produce within and outside mandis and that contract-farming should be on crops, not on farm land," Satish said.

Dec 20, 2020 - 21:50 (IST)

Kisan Ekta Morcha's FB page unpublished, alleges Yogendra Yadav

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav alleged that the Facebook page of Kisan Ekta Morcha, which as per NDTV, is sone the biggest pages being used for the farmers agitation with over seven lakh followers, was unpublished on Sunday. The page has now been restored.

"In midst of a Facebook Live I was doing from Kisan Ekta Morcha's page, we get a notification that the FB page has been unpublished. There must be something about farmers that this govt is particularly scared of & something about this govt that Facebook is particularly scared of," Yadav said, while sharing a screenshot of the page. 

Dec 20, 2020 - 21:37 (IST)

Opposition parties fuelling protests, alleges BJP's Arun Singh

Amid protests by farmers on Delhi borders against the Centre's new farm laws, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh said on Sunday that majority of farmers in the country support Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the legislations.  If a survey is conducted in the country, 99.9 percent farmers will be found in support of the prime minister, Singh claimed at a 'kisan chaupal' (farmers' meet) at Gharoli village in east Delhi's Mayur Vihar area. The meet was organised by the party's Delhi unit in support of the farm laws. "Opposition parties, including the Congress and the AAP, lose no chance to indulge in conspiracy and instigate people at the slightest opportunity and they are doing the same regarding the farm laws," Singh said.

Dec 20, 2020 - 21:28 (IST)

Samajwadi Party to campaign in UP against 'anti-farmer policies' of BJP govts on 25 Dec 

The Samajwadi Party will conduct a special drive on 25 December when its leaders will go to villages in Uttar Pradesh and aware people about the "anti-farmer policies" of the BJP-led governments. In a press statement issued on Sunday, the party's chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said SP leaders will go to villages and hold 'chaupal' (meeting) with farmers. The party's MPs and MLAs will lead the 'Samajwadi Kisan Ghera' campaign, he said.
 
Chaudhary alleged that the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state are hell bent on destroying farmers. "It is an irony that 'annadata' (farmers) are shivering in the cold and want to talk, but the prime minister is doing his 'mann ki baat'," he said, referring to the protests by farmers on Delhi's borders against the Centre's three new farm laws. 
 
PTI

Dec 20, 2020 - 21:16 (IST)

Farmers to intensify stir

Leaders of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said they would reach out to the NDA constituents, appealing to them to compel the BJP to withdraw the three legislations and also asked people to clang utensils on 27 December during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Mann Ki Baat” radio address as a mark of protest, reported The Hindu. They also called for demonstrations and rallies by Indians living abroad over the weekend in support of the agitation.

Dec 20, 2020 - 21:05 (IST)

Centre asking questions over foreign donations: BKU (Ekta Ugrahan)

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), one of Punjab's largest farmer organisations protesting against the recent farm laws, on Sunday said it has been asked by a central agency to submit its registration details which allow it to receive foreign funds. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) stipulates mandatory registration of any outfit receiving foreign fund. A department under the centre has sent an email which we received through our bank's branch in Punjab. In the e-mail, it was stated that we should give registration details in respect of these donations from abroad otherwise they will be sent back,  BKU general secretary Sukhdev Singh said.  The bank manager showed me the email which has been sent by the Forex Department, he said.
 
Qestioning the timing of the Centre's demand, Singh said, "It is quite clear that the agitation against the farm laws is against the Centre and they will try to create all hurdles they can in that. They are using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the agitation."
PTI

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates: Centre writes to protesting farmers' unions inviting them for next round of talks, asks them to choose date, reported news agency PTI. As per The Indian Express , the Union government has invited representatives of the agitating farmers for a meeting at Delhi's Vidyan Bhawan, as per their convenience.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), one of Punjab's largest farmer organisations protesting against the recent farm laws, on Sunday said it has been asked by a central agency to submit its registration details which allow it to receive foreign funds.

The BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) president Joginder Ugrahan and its general secretary Sukhdev Singh revealed about the Union government's demand alleging that the Centre is using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the ongoing agitation.

 "Farmers will begin a day-long relay hunger strike on Monday at all sites of protest against the new agri laws. It will be started by a team of 11 members at protests sites here," Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav said at a press conference at the Singhu border. He also urged people demonstrating against the laws across the country to observe a day-long hunger strike at their respective protest sites.

Announcing the next move, farmer leader Jagjeet Singh Dalewala said farmers will halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from 25 to 27 December.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is likely to meet protesting farmers on Monday or Tuesday to discuss their demands, news agency PTI quotes Home Minister Amit Shah as saying."I am not exactly aware of the timing but Tomar is likely to meet the representatives of farmers tomorrow or the day after to discuss their demands," Shah told a press conference.

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said that Kisan Diwas is scheduled to be celebrated on 23 December. "I would urge people to skip a meal on that day," he said.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Manjit Singh Rai was quoted as saying on Sunday that the farmer unions, protesting against the three farm laws brought by the Centre, are "not seeing any pragmatic changes from government’s side".

“The government is delaying our matter unnecessarily. They should have repealed the laws by now and send the farmers back to their homes. Although the government has stated that before the new year begins there would be a solution, however pragmatically speaking, we are not seeing anything hopeful or even close to that," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with farmers on the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 25 December, the BJP said, adding that the party will hold kisan samvad at over 2,500 places in Uttar Pradesh. In a statement issued on Saturday, the party said it has intensified its preparations for it.

UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and party leader Radha Mohan Singh held a virtual meeting in this regard with party office-bearers from parts of the state. Radha Mohan Singh said the Narendra Modi-led government is dedicated to welfare of the poor and farmers.

"Had the amount of welfare done by the Modi Government been done in the past, the condition of farmers would have been better," Singh said. He accused the opposition parties of spreading lies regarding the new farm laws.

There can be a way out for the next round of talks between the government and farmer unions protesting against the Centre's new farm laws in a day or two, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said after meeting Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday.

This is the second time the Haryana chief minister met Tomar at his residence since the protests broke out over three weeks ago, a state government official told PTI, adding that he had met the Union minister earlier on 8 December.

"In a day or two, there can be a way out for talks. The government is ready for discussion if farmer union leaders come forward beyond yes or no," Khattar was quoted as saying in a Haryana government statement.

"There can't be any solution within the boundary of 'yes or no'. Solutions can be found only after discussion on specific issues. We are hopeful of positive outcome," he added.

The chief minister said he discussed with Tomar about the ongoing farmer protests. "Effort is to find solutions through dialogue," he said.

"Farmers are our own people and I completely empathise with them. I called on Union agriculture minister to update him on the inputs I received from some people who met me as well and shared some more changes (to the farm laws)," Khattar said, according to the statement.

The government can think of changes to the farm laws more than what it has done, he added.

On the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal dispute, Khattar urged Punjab's farmers to take the issue seriously. He said crops in Punjab get damaged due to excess water and therefore this issue need to be resolved.

The meeting comes a day after BJP leader and former Union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh joined a protest in support of the farmers at Haryana's Rohtak.

The dharna was organised by the members of the Sir Chhotu Ram Manch. Singh is the grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, a prominent Jat leader of the pre-independence era who championed the interests of farmers.

Farmers from different parts of the country, including Haryana and Punjab, have been camping at various border points of Delhi for three weeks to demand a repeal of three recent farm laws.

They worry that these laws will eliminate the safety net of the minimum support price (MSP), do away with the "mandi" (wholesale market) system and leave them at the "mercy of big corporates", apprehensions the government has been insisting are misplaced.

Meanwhile, farmers camping at Delhi-Noida border in protests against the three recent farm laws of the Centre on Saturday burnt copies of an open letter of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's written to them in a bid to pacify them.

A group of members from the transgender community also joined farmers at their protest site at Chilla border during the day and entertained them with songs and dance, with some of them also taking digs at the government over its alleged adamant attitude over farm laws.

Scores of protestors from various districts of western Uttar Pradesh are camping at the Chilla border here and at a nearby Dalit Prerna Sthal since the first week of December.

As members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), who are at Chilla border, burnt copies of the minister's letter, Yogesh Pratap Singh, the UP unit chief of farmers' group, said, The protest will not be over until the three laws are repealed.

The traffic movement on the Noida-Delhi Link Road via Chilla border, meanwhile, remained disrupted as only one carriageway was open and the other closed for commuters due to the agitation.

The Noida to Delhi lane is closed but the other lane (Delhi to Noida) is open. Other routes between Delhi and Noida the DND and Kalindi Kunj are open for commuters, a Noida Traffic Police official said.

On Saturday, a group of farmers from Eta district also joined the BKU (Bhanu)-led demonstration at the Chilla border, while scores of BKU (Lok Shakti) members stayed put at the Dalit Prerna Sthal.

A group of farmers from adjoining Bulandshahr district had attempted to move to Delhi via Greater Noida and Noida to join the larger protest sites at Delhi-Haryana border but were stopped by the police, said officials.

These protestors had gathered at the Luharli Toll Plaza in Dadri area where they were pacified by police officials and convinced into returning home. They agreed to return after submitting a memorandum of their demands to officers, a police spokesperson said.

Normal traffic was restored soon at the toll plaza, the official added.

The protestors who have gathered at the Noida border want to proceed to Delhi to join the larger stir sites at Delhi-Haryana border.

Thousands of farmers are currently staying put at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

They have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations.

However, the government has been maintaining that the new laws will bring better opportunities for farmers and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

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