The farmers’ unions have planned to reach out to more than one lakh villages across the country while observing ‘Shraddhanjali Diwas’ on Sunday even as the government has been in informal talks with several organisations to end the current impasse.
As more and more Haryana farmers started assembling at borders in solidarity with their counterparts from Punjab, Haryana chief minister M L Khattar on Sunday met Tomar and is learnt to have discussed issues relating to farmers’ agitation and water sharing of the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal involving Punjab.
Insisting that the central farm laws would only be beneficial for corporates and MNCs, the unions’ umbrella body, AIKSCC, issued point-wise clarifications on what Tomar had said in his ‘open’ letter to farmers two days ago, and reiterated their demand of repealing the farm laws.
“It seems you are just trying to create misunderstanding about the farmers’ movement as you preferred to write an ‘open’ letter instead of calling for a meeting to find a solution,” said the AIKSCC addressing Tomar. The Centre has, however, on multiple occasions said that the government was ready for “clause by clause” discussions with farm leaders to find a solution.
Besides explaining how the farm laws would benefit farmers, Tomar in his open letter on Thursday seemed to target Congress, Left-aligned farmers’ unions, AAP, SAD and some experts, saying the same group of people with similar thinking has been, in the past six years, trying to create unrest in society while hiding sometimes behind students, sometimes behind ‘Dalits’, women or the minorities. “The same people have once again, while hiding behind the country’s farmers, been directly or indirectly promoting unrest for their political interest,” Tomar had said.
Responding to the PM on linking the ongoing protests with opposition parties, the farmers’ unions in their letter said, “If you look at our demands carefully, you may find that none of our demands have anything to do with any political parties.” They were referring to the remarks made by Modi during his address to ‘Kisan Sammelan’, held across MP, through video conferencing on Friday. On the agriculture minister’s point that the farmers would not lose their land at any cost under the new farm laws, the AIKSCC said in its letter that Tomar’s claim was contradicted by the Contract Act 2020, which provided for “farmer land to be mortgaged under Section 9 and for recovery of dues from the farmer u/s 14.7 as arrears of land revenue for advances taken from the company under section 14.2 of the Acts”.
On the minister’s assurances on MSP and procurement, the unions said such claims had fallen flat on the face of Niti Aayog experts openly claiming that the government has excessive food stocks with no place to store and no money to buy.