“We aren’t averse to discussions on broad farm reforms if the Centre puts repeal of the laws on its agenda. That’s our core demand and we won’t compromise on it,” Punjab president of Krantikari Kisan Union, Darshan Pal, told TOI after their meeting. “We’ve decided to send our formal reply, explaining our position on each point in detail,” Pal said.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar again appealed to the farmers to join talks and iterated repeal of laws was not on the agenda as the ministry wanted to resolve all issues “clause by clause” through discussions on any date and proposed amendments/clarifications.
Tomar met some farmers’ unions on Tuesday (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti from UP and Indian Kisan Union from Delhi) which supported the farm laws.
Diuring the day, a few farm representatives from Punjab decided to write to British MPs, asking them to convince UK PM Boris Johnson to not visit India in January till the time farmers’ demands were met by the Indian government. Johnson is scheduled to be the chief guest at the Republic Day function.
This decision, conveyed to the media by Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary of Zamhoori Kisan Sabha, was, however, not part of the meeting of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha — the umbrella body of 40 farmers’ unions. “We did not discuss it in our meeting. Fellow farmers might have announced it in their individual capacity,” said Darshan Pal, adding that the Morcha would, however, like to appeal to the Indian diaspora to stand up for the farmers’ cause on December 26-27 as decided earlier.
Sandhu said, “Already, 36 UK MPs have written in favour of our protest. Farmers have decided to organise a webinar on December 24, where five farmers will take queries on their stand on the Centre’s farm laws and why we are opposing them. This will be live, where 10,000 people can take part and it will be aired on social media platforms. We ask (Bollywood actor) Kangana Ranaut and others who are opposing our protest to come prepared.”
He said as the central government was on a propaganda spree to justify the laws, they had decided to print 10 lakh pamphlets each in Punjabi and Hindi, and five lakh in English. “We will put out the farmers’ viewpoint on the laws in these pamphlets,” he added.