Stir not Punjab-centric, say leaders from different states

Tribune news Service

New Delhi, November 28

In a decision that may further complicate matters for the Centre, Punjab farmers have decided to stay put at Delhi borders for now. Rejecting the offer to shift the protest to the Nirankari Ground at Burari, some demanded to be heard either at the Jantar Mantar or the Ramlila Ground.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan of BKU Ekta Ugrahan claimed that Home Minister Amit Shah called him to go to Burari, but they decided against it.

Meanwhile, leaders from other states and organisations countered the “general belief” that the “protest is mainly Punjab-centric”. The government had extended invitation for December 3 talks only to Punjab farmer unions, pretending and arguing that other farmers are happy with their reform.

“It is clear by now from the fact that farmers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh are attempting to go to Delhi that the resistance is pan-India. Agitations are underway in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand,” said AIKSCC’s Samyukt Kisan Movement.

Either the government should give an assurance that it will take back the farm laws or promise to enact the fourth one on MSP, appears to be the common consensus among various groups.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar again appealed to farmers to stop the agitation and come for talks on December 3. “There is nothing that cannot be resolved through talks,” Tomar said, asking the Congress to “stop politicising the protest and misleading” the farmers.

Facing criticism over their handling of the situation, the Centre is also under attack for “underestimating the determination and resolve of Punjab farmers reached Delhi who despite so many hurdles”.

“It is not just the movement of Punjab farmers. The entire nation is watching. The ball is in the Centre’s court now. It is a remarkable movement which is not driven by religion or politics,” agriculture expert Devinder Sharma said.

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