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Farmers' Protest Updates: Farmers say waiting for Centre to be 'open minded' for talks; Tomar says hopeful of resuming dialogue

Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates: Addressing a press conference at the Singhu border, protesting farmers said they were ready for talks with the Centre, but first the government should send a concrete proposal

FP Staff December 23, 2020 20:45:04 IST
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Farmers' Protest Updates: Farmers say waiting for Centre to be 'open minded' for talks; Tomar says hopeful of resuming dialogue

The protest against the Centre's new farm laws looks set to intensify further as more farmers are expected to join the ongoing agitation at Delhi's border points to press for their demands. AFP

Highlights

18:33 (ist)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

More farm reforms due; hopeful of protesting unions resuming dialogue with govt, says Tomar

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday said the government will continue with reforms in the farm sector as they are still due in many areas, even as he reiterated his hope that protesting farmers will soon come forward to resume their dialogue with the Centre to resolve their concerns over three new laws.

The minister said any agitation can be resolved only through dialogue as has been the case always in history and urged the protesting unions to fix a date and time for the next round of talks.

Protesting farmer unions, who have stuck to their demand for a complete repeal of all three agri-laws, have not yet conveyed their decision on the central government's offer for fresh talks. Thousands of farmers have been camping on various borders of the national capital for almost four weeks now.

The government has already sent a draft proposal to unions offering at least seven amendments to the three legislations that were enacted in September.

"I am fully hopeful that our farmer unions will discuss... If they give a date and time, the government is ready for the next round of talks... I am hopeful that we will move towards resolving the issue," Tomar told reporters.

At least five rounds of formal talks with the protesting unions have failed to break the deadlock, but a number of other farm groups have been meeting the government in the meantime to extend their support to the new laws.

16:37 (ist)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

PM Modi to speak with farmers of 6 states on Friday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak to farmers from six states on 25 December, said his office. Modi will also release the next tranche of funds under the PM-Kisan scheme. 

As per the PIB press release, the Prime Minister will initiate the transfer of more than Rs 18,000 crores to over nine crore beneficiary farmer families. The event is due to start at 12 noon and will be telecast live. Narendra Singh Tomar will also be present,

11:56 (ist)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Centre denying due respect to 'annadata': Kerala CM at anti-farm laws protest venue

Speaking at the anti-farm laws protest venue in Trivandrum, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the Central government is not giving due respect and recognition to the farmers. 

The protest in Trivandrum came after Governor Arif Mohammad Khan denied permission to convene a special Assembly session.

"Our country has witnessed many historic protests, of which main protests were organised by farmers. Even in Kerala, many such protests have taken place. One of the strongest farmers protests is going on in India right now. Farmers are 'annadata' and the present government at the centre is not respecting them," he said.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Dec 23, 2020 - 19:42 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Left exploited farmers in Tripura, Kerala, Bengal; their stand on farm laws hypocritical, claims BJP

Terming the Left parties' stand on the three farm laws "hypocritical", the BJP on Wednesday accused them of "exploiting" the farmers while in power in Tripura, Kerala and West Bengal.

Wherever the Left parties were in power, there was "nothing left" for the farmers and the economy, party spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters. "For 25 years, till 2018, there was a Left government in Tripura. I feel sad in saying that there was no MSP in the state for 25 years. Today, the Left leaders are acting as well wishers of the farmers, but all they did was to exploit them.

"The first thing the BJP did after coming to power in Tripura in 2018 was procurement of paddy. As much as 48,716 tonnes of paddy was procured from 27,735 farmers at an expenditure of Rs 86.65 crore," he said.

Under the Left government, farmers in Tripura were selling rice for Rs 10-12 per kilogramme. Now, under the BJP government they are selling it for Rs 18.50, he claimed.

Patra also remarked that the agricultural growth rate was 6.4 per cent when the Left was in power in Tripura in 2017-2018. "In two consecutive years -- 2018-19 and 2020-2021 -- it rose to 13.5 percent," he said. "Wherever there is Left, the farmers have been exploited," the BJP spokesperson alleged.

Dec 23, 2020 - 19:29 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Congress workers stage protests in Gorakhpur against farm laws

Congress workers protested in Gorakhpur on Wednesday against the three contentious farm laws by clapping and clanging pots and pans. The Congress workers, led by Gorakhpur district president Nirmala Paswan and city chief Ashutosh Tiwari, surrounded the house of BJP MLA Radha Mohan Das Agarwal.

A heavy police force reached Agarwal's house and tried to pacify the protesters, but Paswan was adamant to hand over to the legislator the memorandum that was addressed to the governor.

She handed over the memorandum to the city magistrate after police did not allow them to move further.

Dec 23, 2020 - 19:09 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Ready for talks, but govt should send concrete proposal, say farmer unions

Protesting farmer unions on Wednesday asked the government to not repeat "meaningless" amendments to the new agri laws that they have already rejected but come up with a concrete proposal in writing for another round of talks, PTI reports.

Addressing a press conference, a farmer leader said they were ready for talks, but the government should send a concrete proposal for that to happen. "We have already told Home Minister Amit Shah that protesting farmers will not accept amendments," farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said.

"Farmer unions are ready to talk to the government and are waiting for the government to come to the table with an open mind," said Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav.

All India Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Molla claimed the government wanted to tire the farmers out so that the protest would end.

Dec 23, 2020 - 18:59 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

AIKS leader says Centre wants to exhaust farmers so that protests ends

All India Kisan Sabha leader Hannan Molla says the government wants to exhaust the farmers so that they end their protest, PTI reports.

Dec 23, 2020 - 18:47 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Govt should not repeat 'meaningless' amendments rejected by farmers: Yogendra Yadav

Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav says the farmers are ready to hold talks with the Centre, ANI reports. “We’re waiting for govt to take the discussion forward with an open mind and neat intention,” he says while reading the farmers’ letter to the Centre.

He also said that the government should not repeat the “meaningless” amendments rejected by the farmers and come up with a concrete proposal in writing, so that negotiations between the two sides cam begin soon, ANI reports.

Dec 23, 2020 - 18:43 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

BKU leader alleges Centre of trying to 'break morale' of protesting farmers

Bhartiya Kisan Union General Secretary Yudhvir Singh alleges that the Centre wants to delay the matter and break the morale of the protesting farmers, ANI reports. “The government is taking our issues lightly, I’m warning them to take cognisance of this matter and find a solution soon,” he adds.

Shiv Kumar Kakka also urges the Centre to leave its stubbornness and accept the farmers’ demands, PTI reports.

Dec 23, 2020 - 18:33 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

More farm reforms due; hopeful of protesting unions resuming dialogue with govt, says Tomar

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday said the government will continue with reforms in the farm sector as they are still due in many areas, even as he reiterated his hope that protesting farmers will soon come forward to resume their dialogue with the Centre to resolve their concerns over three new laws.

The minister said any agitation can be resolved only through dialogue as has been the case always in history and urged the protesting unions to fix a date and time for the next round of talks.

Protesting farmer unions, who have stuck to their demand for a complete repeal of all three agri-laws, have not yet conveyed their decision on the central government's offer for fresh talks. Thousands of farmers have been camping on various borders of the national capital for almost four weeks now.

The government has already sent a draft proposal to unions offering at least seven amendments to the three legislations that were enacted in September.

"I am fully hopeful that our farmer unions will discuss... If they give a date and time, the government is ready for the next round of talks... I am hopeful that we will move towards resolving the issue," Tomar told reporters.

At least five rounds of formal talks with the protesting unions have failed to break the deadlock, but a number of other farm groups have been meeting the government in the meantime to extend their support to the new laws.

Dec 23, 2020 - 18:23 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Group of farmers perform yagna for govt's change of heart on agri laws

A group of farmers here on Wednesday organised a yagna seeking a change of heart by the government on the new agri laws. The yagna was organised on the birth anniversary of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.

"We organised the yagna for 'buddhi-shuddhi' of the government so that it could understand the repercussion of the new agri laws and withdraw it," Bhartiya Kisan Union (Asli) divisional president Sanjay Gandhi said.

The government was not ready to hear farmers and now their protest has become a public movement, BKU (Asli) district president Rajpal Singh said.

Dec 23, 2020 - 17:37 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Take farm bills back: BKU (Lok Shakti) chief writes letter in blood to PM Modi

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lok Shakti) chief Sheoraj Singh on Wednesday wrote a letter in blood to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws that have stoked massive protests by farmers' unions in north India, reports PTI.

The letter by Singh, who is camping at the Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida along with his faction members since 2 December, came as protestors marked the birth anniversary of the former prime minister and farmers' leader Chaudhary Charan Singh.

"Take back the agriculture bill, make the law to ensure guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) and form a kisaan aayog (farmers commission)," he wrote in the brief letter addressed to PM Modi.

BKU (Lok Shakti) spokesperson Shailesh Kumar Giri said the letter has been handed over to the Noida administration, whose officials have assured that it would be forwarded to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

"I have received the letter from the farmers' union which has been written in blood. The letter will be sent to the Prime Minister's Officer through our district magistrate, as per procedures," Noida City Magistrate Uma Shankar told PTI.

Dec 23, 2020 - 17:10 (IST)

Farmers Protest LATEST Updates

Will ensure farmers get the right price, says agriculture minister Tomar

“Through various schemes, we will fill all gaps in agriculture sector, which will benefit farmers and ensure they get the right price...Even during Covid-19 pandemic, we saw that work related to farming and agriculture wasn’t affected,” says Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Tomar also said that the government is ready for a discussion with farmer unions, reports ANI. “Whatever they want to add and subtract from government’s proposal, they should tell us,” says Tomar. “I am hopeful of a solution.”

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates: Bhartiya Kisan Union General Secretary Yudhvir Singh alleges that the Centre wants to delay the matter and break the morale of the protesting farmers, ANI reports. “The government is taking our issues lightly, I’m warning them to take cognisance of this matter and find a solution soon,” he adds.

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday reiterated Centre's willingness to engage in dialogue with the farmers. "Whatever they want to add and subtract from the proposal, they should tell us," Tomar added

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said the continuation of farmers' protests despite the government's attempts to clear their apprehensions on the new agri laws shows cultivators are being "provoked and misled" by the Opposition.

A 5-member delegation comprising Derek O'Brien, Satabdi Roy, Prasun Banerjee, Pratima Mondal and Md Nadimul Haque meet and interacted with farmers at the Singhu Border to show solidarity. TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also spoke to protesting farmers over the phone and assured them of her full solidarity. Some farmers also requested her to visit the dharna site, the TMC said in a statement

A decision on the government's offer for fresh talks to resolve the deadlock over contentious farm laws is likely to be taken later in the day by protesting farmer unions who urged people on Wednesday to skip one meal on 'Kisan Diwas', the birth anniversary of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, in support of their stir

After Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan denied permission to a special Assembly session to discuss new farm laws, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated an anti-farm laws agitation event in Trivandrum.

Protesting farmer unions deferred a decision on the central government's offer for fresh talks to Wednesday, even as Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar expressed the hope that they will soon resume the dialogue to resolve the impasse over the new agri laws.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wished farmers on Farmers’ Day and thanked them for providing the country with food security.

Singh said that the government was holding talks with some of the protesting farmers with full sensitivity and hoped that the agitations would soon come to an end.

Protesting farmer unions deferred a decision on the central government's offer for fresh talks to Wednesday, even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday expressed the hope that they will soon resume the dialogue to resolve the impasse over the new agri laws.

A group of protesters showed black flags to Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and even tried to block his convoy in Ambala City, as demonstrations were held in several states in support of the thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, who are on a sit-in since 26 November on the borders of the National Capital demanding the repeal of the three laws.

In Uttar Pradesh, a group of farmers who were heading to join the protesters clashed with police when they were stopped at Rampur-Moradabad toll plaza.

While a couple of farmer unions have been on a sit-in on the Delhi-Noida border against the farm laws, a group of protesters, mainly residents of Jewar and Dadri in Greater Noida, came out on roads in support of the laws and was stopped by police at Mahamaya Flyover.

Farmers camping at UP Gate on Delhi-Ghaziabad border on Tuesday blocked all 14 lanes of the National Highway 9 for eight hours from 9 am and also allegedly manhandled a journalist and photographer.

In Kerala, the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) took out a march to the Raj Bhavan to express solidarity with the protesting farmer unions while Governor Arif Mohammed Khan declined approval for a special session of the state assembly on Wednesday proposed by the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front Government to discuss and pass a resolution against the three contentious central farm laws.

Addressing a press conference at Delhi's Singhu Border, farmer leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu said that 32 farmer unions from Punjab held a meeting on Tuesday and discussed the next course of action.

The farmer leader said that a meeting of farmer leaders from across India would be held on Wednesday where a decision on the government's talks offer will be taken.

In a letter to 40 union leaders, the Joint Secretary in the Union Agriculture Ministry, Vivek Aggarwal, had on Sunday asked protesting farmer leaders to specify their concerns over its earlier proposal of amendments in the laws and choose a convenient date for the next round of talks so that the ongoing agitation could end at the earliest.

The sixth round of talks on 9 December was cancelled following a deadlock with the farmer unions refusing to budge from their demand for repealing the three laws.

Agriculture Minister Tomar said on Tuesday he is hopeful that protesting unions would soon complete their internal discussions and resume talks with the government to resolve the crisis.

He met two more peasants' bodies from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh that extended support to the legislation.

"Representatives of different farmers' bodies had come to tell that the laws are good and are in the interest of farmers. They had come to urge the government not make any amendments to the laws," Tomar said after meeting the two groups.

"I am hopeful they (protesting farmers' unions) will soon complete their internal discussions and come forward for talks. We will be able to find a solution successfully," the minister said.

However, Sandhu accused the government of creating "dummy and fake organisations that don't have any past" to undermine their agitation.

The farmer leader said that they would also write to Britain MPs, urging them to press their Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to attend India's Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Johnson will be the chief guest at the event next month.

At the press conference, Sandhu said that farmer leaders will observe "Shaheedi diwas" from December 23-26. Protesting unions have already given a call to halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27.

Seeking President Ram Nath Kovind's intervention for withdrawal of the three farm laws, the Congress said a memorandum signed by two crore farmers would be handed over to him on December 24 by a party delegation led by Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress has been supporting the farmers agitation and seeking the withdrawal of the Central farm legislations. A delegation of opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, had met the president with the same demand a few days ago.

The party's Uttar Pradesh unit said it will hold a statewide protest across Uttar Pradesh in support of the farmers' agitation on Wednesday marking the birth anniversary of Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and its associate unions said they will observe December 23 as "Skip Lunch" day to express solidarity with the farmers.

Earlier in the day, Tomar asserted that the new farm reform laws will herald a new era in Indian farming and said the government is still willing to continue talks with protesting unions on all contentious issues.

"The Government has had many rounds of talks with farmer unions and is willing to continue the dialogue on contentious issues, clause by clause, with an open mind," an official statement said.

Tomar, along with Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, is holding discussions with 40 protesting unions.

In Maharashtra, farmers protested outside the office of Mumbai suburban district collector demanding the withdrawal of the farm laws. The protest was supported by the 'Prahar' organisation, headed by state minister Bacchu Kadu.

A group of farmers from the state has already left for Delhi to support the peasants.

Meanwhile, social media giant Facebook said Kisan Ekta Morcha's page had been taken down after its automated systems found increased activity and flagged it as spam, and that the page was restored in less than three hours.

Facebook had faced criticism from various quarters after the page - which is run by a farmers' collective that is participating in the stir - was taken down on Sunday evening.

"As per our review, our automated systems found an increased activity on the (Kisan Ekta Morcha) Facebook page and flagged it as spam, which violates our Community Standards. We restored the page in less than three hours when we became aware of the context," a Facebook spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the review showed that only the Facebook page was affected by the automated systems while the Instagram account remained unaffected.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The government has repeatedly asserted that the MSP and Mandi systems will stay and has accused the opposition of misleading the farmers.

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