Vigil raised as farmers step up protest

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13

With the farm unions stepping up their agitation against the recent farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Minister of State Som Parkash met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday. While the leaders of all 32 unions will sit on fast from 8 am to 5 pm at the Singhu border on Monday, farmers unable to make it to Singhu will protest at the district headquarters.

Mere propaganda

The Opposition is running a propaganda. These legislations may cause difficulty for some in the short term but will be beneficial to the farmers in the long run. – NS Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister

Listen to farm workers

India and the US share a rich tradition of democracy and peaceful protests. Farm workers are the backbone of both our nations and must have their voices heard. – Ro Khanna, Indian-American Congman

Shah is believed to have also discussed the “ground situation in Punjab” in the wake of separatists vandalising the statue of Mahatma Gandhi during a protest by Sikh-Americans in the US and allegations of “Khalistan, ultra-left and pro-left wing extremists” having hijacked the farmers’ movement — the charges that farm unions reject vehemently.

Following the meeting with the Home Minister, Som Parkash, an MP from Punjab, said the Centre was willing to hold discussions and had offered to amend the laws, even though these were “correct”, only to resolve the issue. He also claimed several ‘jathebandis’ had accepted the government’s amendment offer during the December 3 meeting. “It seems the matter is out of their (leaders’) hands and wrong elements have entered the movement. They need to shun obstinacy and hold conclusive discussions,” he added. Meanwhile, farmers’ leaders picketing at the Singhu border distanced themselves from VM Singh of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh. The latter had announced on Saturday that the farmers were ready for talks with the Centre. The leaders rejected the charge that the movement had been “hijacked”. Stressing that the demands to roll back the laws and legal guarantee for MSP were not negotiable, they said: “Any attempt to hold parallel negotiations with the government amounts to sabotaging the movement.” Gurnam Singh Charuni claimed that groups that had ended the protest were hand in glove with the government and were “never associated with us.”

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