Tribune News Service
Sonepat, December 16
The farmers’ joint forum has formally rejected the Centre’s proposal to amend the contentious farm laws. Representatives of farmers at a meeting with the Centre had on December 9 turned down the proposal but the government maintained that it had not received anything in writing.
Krantikari Kisan Union’s Darshan Pal, in a letter to the Union Government on Wednesday, also sought that parallel talks with other farm bodies be stopped and the government must not “discredit” the stir. Braving the cold, thousands of farmers have been protesting at the Singhu and Tikri borders for the past 20 days, demanding that the recent farm laws be repealed.
Dilbagh Singh, a farmhand, who cycled all the way from Panchwar village in Tarn Taran district of Punjab to the Singhu border, said: “The government should repeal the laws. If the farmer does not survive, the farm labourer will not survive either. It’s a matter of do or die for us.” Former DIG (Prisons) Lakhminder Singh Jakhar, who resigned recently, and Kavita Vinod Khanna, wife of the late Gurdaspur MP and actor Vinod Khanna, were among those who joined the protesters at Singhu on Wedneday. “I am with the farmers. It’s a worrying situation,” the latter said.
Baba Ram Singh (65) of Gurdwara Sahib Nanaksar Singhra in Nissing area of Karnal reportedly shot himself near the main stage at Singhu on Wednesday, leaving a suicide note in Punjabi. Sources said he would daily visit the protest site to express solidarity with the farmers. He was rushed to a private hospital in Panipat where the doctors declared him “brought dead”. He headed Ek Onkar Ashram Thath Nanaksar Singhra and had a sizeable following in the country and abroad.
A number of 1971 war veterans, while commemorating Vijay Divas at Singhu border, on Wednesday opposed the three farm laws, showing solidarity with the protesting farmers. The Acts should be repealed, they said.
At least 20 farmers from Punjab and Haryana have died during the agitation since November 24 — some in road accidents and some owing to health issues, say sources.