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Farmers' Protest Updates: Modi urges 'all farmers' to read Tomar's letter supporting farm laws

Farmers Protest LIVE Updates: In his tweet, the prime minister also requested citizens to circulate the letter reiterating the govt's stand as widely as possible

FP Staff December 17, 2020 23:35:04 IST
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Farmers' Protest Updates: Modi urges 'all farmers' to read Tomar's letter supporting farm laws

Farmers participate in a hunger strike during their protest against the Centre's farm reform laws, in Hisar district, Haryana. PTI

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Dec 17, 2020 - 22:07 (IST)

If govt wants to talk to farmers it should convey that formally: BKU leader Rakesh Tikait

If the government wants to talk to farmer leaders that should be formally conveyed like in previous occasions, said Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Friday, asserting that anything less than scrapping of the new agri laws won't be accepted. The government on Thursday asked farmer groups to consider its proposals for amending the Acts to address their concerns and said it was open to discussing its offer further whenever the unions want.

"They (government) should first tell us when and where they want to meet us as they did for previous formal talks. If they invite us for talks, we will discuss that with our coordination committee and then take a decision," Tikait told PTI. The BKU leader said there was no question of returning home until the government repeals the three laws. Asked whether the government has sent any invite for further discussion, he said the farmer unions have not received anything as such.

(PTI)

Dec 17, 2020 - 21:34 (IST)

PM to speak on farm laws' 'benefits' in address to MP farmers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak about the "beneficial provisions" of the new farmlaws during his virtual address to the farmers of Madhya Pradesh on Friday as part of a state-level programme, PTI reported. 

An official of the Madhya Pradesh Public Relations Department on Thursday said the prime minister would address the farmersin the state around 2 pm. The MP government has organised a state-level 'Kisan Kalyan' event in Raisen district, wherein Chief MinisterShivraj Singh will transfer the relief amount of Rs 1,600crore into the bank accounts of nearly 35.50 lakh farmers forthe damaged kharif crops, the official said.

Nearly 20,000 farmers will take part in the state-level programme in Raisen, he added. "After the chief minister's speech, PM Modi willaddress the farmers of the state around 2 pm through video-conference and explain to them in detail the beneficialprovisions of the new agricultural laws," he said.

Dec 17, 2020 - 21:21 (IST)

Farmer leaders to consult senior lawyers for next course of action

Farmer leaders on Thursday said they will consult senior lawyers, including Colin Gonsalves, Dushyant Dave and Prashant Bhushan, before deciding the next course of action after the Supreme Court said it was thinking of setting up an "impartial and independent" panel of agriculture experts and peasants' unions to resolve the deadlock over the contentious farm laws. The protesting farmer leaders welcomed the apex court's move to acknowledge the right of farmers to non-violent protests, but asserted that their agitation will continue until a concrete solution is found.

"We will meet senior lawyers Colin Gonsalves, Dushyant Dave, HS Phoolka and Prashant Bhushan on Friday and consult them about what can be done," Abhimanyu Kohar, a leader of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, told PTI. He said the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of around 40 farmer unions protesting at Delhi's border points, has not received any notice from the Supreme Court, adding that it will comment on the matter only after seeing a copy of the court's order.

Dec 17, 2020 - 20:47 (IST)

Kejriwal indulged in cheap theatrics by tearing copies of farm laws: Harsimrat

Former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday accused Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal of indulging in "cheap theatrics" by tearing copies of the farm laws. She said his government in Delhi was among the first to notify one of the central laws related to agriculture, reports PTI.

In a statement, Badal said the Delhi chief minister was known as a "dramebaaz" but this time he indulged in "cheap theatrics" and "unparalleled hypocrisy" by tearing the same laws in the Vidhan Sabha, one of which he had notified on 23 November.

"The Delhi chief minister is only shedding crocodile tears in a desperate bid to wipe away the blot he has put on his name by rushing to notify the farm laws on the directions of the central government. These dramas however won't help.

"Farmers know that Kejriwal and AAP have never supported their struggle and Kejriwal has always danced to the tune of the central government," she alleged.

Dec 17, 2020 - 20:29 (IST)

Opposition’s anger over Ram temple reason for farmer protests, says Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath claims that the Opposition is lending support to the farmers’ agitation to fuel unrest in the country because they “cannot tolerate” Prime Minister Modi’s plan to construct a Ram temple in Ayodhya, reports NDTV. “Those who cannot tolerate that a grand Ram temple is being built in Ayodhya are angry because Modi has even kickstarted the construction of a grand Ram temple,” the Bharatiya Janata Party leader says.

Dec 17, 2020 - 20:16 (IST)

PM Modi urges all farmers to read Tomar's letter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted to the Union agriculture minister's letter by urging people to read it. "I request all the farmers to read it. The countrymen are also urged to make it reach to as many people as possible," his tweet read in Hindi.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday wrote a letter addressed to farmers, where he reiterated that the government is ready to give a written assurance regarding the MSP. He also said some vested groups are trying to create confusion in the minds of the farmers.

Dec 17, 2020 - 19:57 (IST)

Farm-law impasse should be resolved through dialogue: BKU chief

Bharatiya Kisan Union president Naresh Tikait said farmers did not want conflict during the protest against the new farm laws and the issue should be resolved through dialogue, as per PTI. Tikait said the Centre should repeal the farm laws in the public interest, adding that the contentious legislations were not in favour of the farmers.

Addressing the media in Muzaffarnagar before his departure to Delhi, Tikait suggested that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, BJP veteran L K Advani and RLD leader Ajit Singh should be part of the dialogue to resolve the issue.

Dec 17, 2020 - 19:47 (IST)

Ghazipur border closed: Delhi Traffic Police

Earlier, the Delhi Traffic Police had tweeted that due to farmers protests, the Ghazipur border between is closed for traffic coming from Ghaziabad to Delhi

Dec 17, 2020 - 19:29 (IST)

Next hearing after winter vacation, says SC

According to India Today, hearing of petitions on farmers' protests will now take place in January, after the winter vacations. However, the pendency of these matters will not prevent the parties from resolving the issue amicably, LiveLaw quotes the court as saying. "In order to bring about an effective solution to the present stalemate between the protesters and the government, we consider it appropriate in the interests of justice to constitute a committee comprising of independent and impartial persons including experts in the field of agriculture" and sought suggestions about the constitution of the committee.

Dec 17, 2020 - 19:20 (IST)

Protest should be allowed to continue without breach of peace: SC order

The Supreme Court says it will not interfere with the farmers protest against three farms laws. "We're of the view at this stage that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or police," the order said.  "Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order," LiveLaw quotes the court as saying.

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates: The Supreme Court says it will not interfere with the farmers protest against three farms laws. "We're of the view at this stage that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or police," the order said.

In its order, the top court said it considers it appropriate to constitute a committee of impartial persons, including experts on agriculture, and seek suggestions from farmers' groups and the Centre
Union Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar penned an eight-page open letter to farmers agitating against the Centre's three farm laws, requesting them to not believe in the "white lies" being spread by some people that MSP will be stopped.

"As the agriculture minister of the country, my duty is to dispel the confusion and anxiety faced by every farmer.  A wall of lies and conspiracies is being created between the Centre and farmers around Delhi and other areas and its is my responsibility to bring forward the truth and reality before you," he said.

The Sanyukta Kisan Morch has decided to form a four- member internal committee to deal with all issues arising from the Supreme Court's intervention in the farmers protest under the leadership of Balbir Singh Rajewal ( BKU, Rajewal), reports CNN-News18. As per reports, the farmers will consult with four senior Supreme Court advocates- Prashant Bhushan,Colin Golsalves, Dushyant Dave and HS Phoolka.

The NCP  demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi convene a special session of Parliament to address the concerns of the agitating peasants.  NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapse said some farmers have laid down their lives for
the cause but the BJP government at the Centre "does not seem to be sympathising" with the protesting farmers. Hence, the issue has to be resolved at the Parliament-level, he said.

Meanwhile, a meeting at the BJP headquarters attended by top leaders including Amit Shah and Narendra Singh Tomar concluded.

In a special session of the Delhi Assembly called to discuss the farmers protest, Arvind Kejriwal backed a resolution to reject the three farms laws, which he alleged were brought in to facilitate BJP's election funding. Questioning the Centre's haste to pass the three controversial laws, the Delhi chief minister tore copies of the reforms in the Assembly.

"The Delhi Assembly today rejected all thee farm laws and has appealed to the Central government that it should take back these black laws," Kejriwal told reporters after the session.

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar is holding a meeting with BJP general secretraries over the farm laws, reported News18. As per the Times of India, Home Minister Amit Shah and commerce minister Piyush Goyal have also reached the meeting.

The Sambhal district administration in Uttar Pradesh has issued notices to six farmer leaders asking them to submit personal bonds of Rs 50,000 each, as a police report warned of breach of peace during the protest against the new farm laws. reported PTI quoting an official.

"We've got a report from the Hayatnagar police station that some persons are inciting farmers and there can be breach of peace," said Subdivisional Magistrate Deependra Yadav.

AAP MLA Mahendra Goyal tore a copy of the Centre's farm laws during a special Delhi assembly session called to discuss farmers' agitation.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court said it is not possible for the court to determine the number of people who will gather at Delhi's Ram Leela Maidan.

We recognize the fundamental right to protest against the laws and no question to curtail it. The only thing we can look into is that it should not cause damage to someone's life, said CJI on Thursday.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that that it will not decide on the constitutional validity of the three farms laws as of now.

The farmers' agitation against the Centre's new agri reform laws has entered 22nd day on Thursday.

The Supreme Court will resume hearing a batch of pleas seeking direction to the authorities to immediately remove the farmers who are protesting at several border points of Delhi against the three farm reform laws.

Observing that the Centre's talks with the protesting farmers have "not worked apparently" and were bound to fail, the Supreme Court on Wednesday stepped in and indicated forming a panel to break the three-week long deadlock, but the farm leaders dismissed the move as no solution.

The top court also said the agitation may soon become a national issue.

As the protests at the border points of Delhi for the repeal of the three new farm laws entered the 21st day, police said a Sikh preacher supporting the agitation allegedly committed suicide near the Singhu border.

A handwritten note in Punjabi, purportedly left behind by the deceased, says he was unable to bear the "pain of farmers". The note is being verified by the police.

An official of the Sonipat police said they had received a call that Sant Ram Singh (65), who hailed from Singhra village in Nissing area of Karnal district, allegedly shot himself. He was rushed to a hospital in Panipat where doctors declared him brought dead.

With the government and the leaders of the protesting farmers unable to break the impasse, a three-judge bench of the top court headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde mooted a committee to resolve the dispute.

"We will form a committee to resolve the dispute. We will have members of the government, members from farmer organisations in it. This may soon become a national issue. We will have members from farmer organisations from rest of India," the court said.

The parties involved were also asked to propose a list of names of committee members.

Multiple pleas have been filed in the top court seeking a direction to authorities to immediately remove the protesting farmers, saying commuters are facing hardships due to the road blockades and the gatherings might lead to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The apex court issued notices to the Centre on the petitions which also sought an amicable solution of the dispute.

During a hearing conducted via video conferencing, the bench directed the petitioners to make protesting farmer unions parties to the pleas and posted the matter for hearing on Thursday.

The court told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, "Your negotiations have not worked apparently."

"It is bound to fail. You are saying you are willing to negotiate," the bench told Mehta, who replied, "Yes, we are willing to talk to farmers."

When the apex court asked the solicitor general, who was representing the Centre to give names of the farmer organisations, which are blocking the roads on Delhi borders, he said he can provide the names of those with whom government is holding discussions.

"There are members of Bharatiya Kisan Union and other organisations who are talking to the government", Mehta said, adding that government is talking with the protesting farmer organisations and he can give those names to the court.

He also said "now, it appears that others have taken over the farmers' protest."

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who is leading the government side in the negotiations, meanwhile, said the ongoing agitation at Delhi's border points is limited to one state and farmers of Punjab are being "misled" by the Opposition.

He, however, expressed hope that there will be a solution "soon" to the ongoing impasse.

Protesting farmer unions said constituting a new panel to break the stalemate on the three new agri laws is not a solution as they want a complete withdrawal of the legislations. They also said the government should have formed a committee of farmers and others before the laws were enacted by Parliament.

Abhimanyu Kohar, a leader of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sabha which is one of the 40 protesting farmer unions, said they have already rejected a recent government offer to form such a panel.

Taking to Twitter, Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, who is also a member of umbrella group Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, said, "The SC can and must decide on the constitutionality of the three farm acts. But it is not for the judiciary to decide on the feasibility and desirability of these laws. That's between the farmers and their elected leaders. SC monitored negotiation would be a wrong path."

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), which has been leading the agitation at Tikri border, said that there would be no meaning of a new committee now.

The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha wrote a letter to the Centre asking it to stop holding "parallel talks" with other farmer bodies over the contentious legislations.

With the government saying that it is waiting for the reply of farmer leaders, the Morcha said there was no question of responding as they had made their stand clear in the last round of meeting with Union ministers that they want the laws to be repealed.

In the letter to Union Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal, the Morcha said the Centre should also stop "defaming" the ongoing protests being held against the farm laws.

During the day, security arrangements were tightened at the Chilla border between Delhi and Noida as farmer union leaders threatened to completely block the key border point to press for their demands.

Speaking to reporters in Gwalior and at a virtual conference, Tomar insisted that the new agriculture reforms will change the lives of the farmers.

He also accused the Congress and Left parties of taking advantage of the farmers' protest to malign the image of the government.

"We are talking to farmer organisations and also those from Punjab. We will soon find a solution on the issue. The opposition is trying to mislead farmers, but it will not succeed," Tomar said.

Addressing a convention in Indore, his ministerial colleague Dharmendra Pradhan alleged that anti-Indian, feudalistic force was behind the agitation. He claimed this force was also against the concepts of 'Bharatiyata' (Indianness) and India's self-reliance.

Questioning the protest, he said, "Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has agreed to give a written guarantee that the system of procurement of crops at MSP will continue in the country. Then on what issue the farmers' agitation is happening?"

BJP's Gujarat chief CR Paatil also alleged that the ongoing agitation was a planned conspiracy by the opposition parties to create anarchy in the country and to destabilise it.

Hitting out at the Congress, he said, "Congress was in favour of these agricultural reforms when it was in power. But now, the opposition party is spreading falsehood and misguiding farmers. People need to identify such forces and remain cautious about their motives."

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the issues flagged by the agitating farmers can be solved in five minutes if Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself steps in.

"The government can solve the issue in 30 minutes sitting with the (agitating) farmers, if it wants...I think the issue will be solved in five minutes if the prime minister himself intervenes," he told PTI.

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