Centre asks unions to select date for talks as Modi visits Delhi gurdwara

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 20

The Centre on Sunday wrote to the protesting farm unions, inviting them for the next round of talks and asking them to choose a date. In a letter to the union leaders, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal wrote, “I request those previously invited protesting union leaders to provide details of their remaining concerns and doubts and suggest a date as per convenience for the next round of talks.”

The earlier five rounds of formal talks between the government and 40 farmers’ unions failed to break the impasse, with the farmers insisting that the Centre’s recent farm laws be repealed.

The government intends to convene the next meeting at Vigyan Bhawan here “for resolving the issue so that the ongoing protests end at the earliest,” Aggarwal said.

Even as the protesting farmers paid homage to those dead during the stir, PM Narendra Modi on Sunday paid a surprise visit to Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib and paid tributes to Guru Teg Bahadur for his supreme sacrifice. The Ninth Sikh Guru’s death anniversary was observed on Saturday.

The PM tweeted after his visit, “This morning, I prayed at the historic Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, where the pious body of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji was cremated. I felt extremely blessed. I, like millions around the world, am deeply inspired by the kindnesses of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji (sic).” He also tweeted in Punjabi. The PM’s visit amid the stir by farmers, especially from Punjab, is significant.

Meanwhile, the unions announced to observe a daylong relay fast on Monday at all protest sites and to halt toll collection on highways in Haryana from December 25 to 27. Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, addressing the media at the Delhi-Haryana Singhu border, said: “Protesters are being threatened by the Haryana Government. This is against the direction of the Supreme Court. I urge them not to do so.” Senior BKU member Rakesh Tikait announced that December 23 would be celebrated as Kisan Diwas in memory of Chaudhary Charan Singh. “We request the people not to cook lunch for a day”.

The protesting farmers paid tributes to the farmers who died during the agitation and lit candles in their memory even as the AIKSCC wrote to various traders’ associations for their support.

Centre seeking info on funds, claims BKU

Chandigarh: Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) on Sunday said it had been asked by a central agency to submit registration details which allow it to receive foreign funds. “The Centre is using every tactic to defeat our agitation,” union president Joginder Ugrahan claimed. The FCRA stipulates mandatory registration for organisations receiving foreign funds. PTI

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