Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Chandigarh, November 28
Amid intense protests against the newly passed farm bills, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said his government was willing to hold talks with the protesters on their objections to the recently passed farm laws.
Home Minister Amit Shah asked protesting farmers to clear roads and national highways, instead offering them Burari ground to hold their protests.
In an appeal he issued through news agency ANI, he said Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar had called a meeting on December 3 to discuss their objections to the Bill, and asked farmers to move their protests to the ground where he said they would be permission to continue their protests against the central government’s farm laws.
“The central government is willing to hold talks with you (farmers),” he said on Saturday. “I ask my farmer brothers who have been holding protests at national and state highways in the cold that the Delhi Police will offer you a ground to hold your protests. Please move there. You will be given the permission to protest, you can build a stage there to protest, you will have toilet facilities, water and security. Additionally, ambulances will be on standby there”.
“The central government will hold talks with you the very next day after you move to Burari,” he said.
Shah’s statement came as thousands of farmers continued to hold protests at the Tikri and Singhu interstate borders on Saturday.
Farmers choose Jantar Mantar
Bharatiya Kishan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) however rejected the offer, saying they would instead go to to Jantar Mantar.
In a statement issued soon after, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) said that the home minister met BKU (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan with the offer, which the latter turned down.
“Joginder Singh Ugrahan announced to start indefinite protest at Jantar Mantar. He said that the protest will continue till our demands are met,” the statement said.
“Ugrahan told that the caravan of protesters includes substantial number of women and youth. He added that despite the capacity to choke the national capital they plan to start indefinite protest at Jantar Mantar so that local residences suffer no inconvenience. He has given call to farmers and farm workers from all over India to join the protest,” it said.
‘Talking is the only way’
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged the protesters to heed to Shah’s appeal.
A press release from the chief minister’s office said that he thought it was in the “best interest of the farming community and the nation at large” and that it would pave way for talks.
“Shah’s offer to advance talks with farmers from December 3, and his statement reflecting the Centre’s willingness to listen to the farmers was a welcome step,” the press statement quoted the chief minister as having said.
‘Since the Home Minister had made it clear that the Government of India was ‘ready to deliberate on every problem and demand’ of the farmers, and would hold talks the day after the farmers shifted to the designated site in Delhi for their protest, the Kisan leaders should also move forward,” the chief minister said. “Only by sitting across the table can both sides come to a solution to the problem.”
— With agencies