Punjab all-party meet passes decision amid AAP walk-out, searching for fast withdrawal of farm legal guidelines by Centre and statutory MSP

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 2

Taking a serious note of the “substantial delay” by the Centre in resolving the crisis, Punjab’s political parties, on the call of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, on Tuesday urged the Government of India to redress the grievances of farmers, who have shown exemplary resilience in their continued fight in the most democratic manner, by immediately withdrawing the three farm laws.

Condemning the “sponsored violence in Delhi”, the meeting decided that an all-party delegation will go to Delhi to meet the prime minister and raise the issue, along with other matters of concern on the farmers’ agitation.

The all-party meeting, convened by the chief minister to evolve consensus on the issue, demanded an appropriate judicial inquiry to investigate the laxity and complicity of those responsible for maintaining peace and order at the Red Fort.

Representatives of all parties appreciated the action and position taken by the Kisan Sangarsh Samiti of 40 Kisan Unions, including 32 Kisan Unions from Punjab.

The meeting, which was boycotted by the Bharatiya Janata Party, passed a resolution to this effect, even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) walked out over their demand for deployment of Punjab Police to protect the farmers protesting at the Delhi borders, which the chief minister again rejected as unconstitutional.

“We talk about more federal powers for the states, then how can we do this?” asked Capt Amarinder as AAP leaders brought up the issue towards the end of the meeting.

“What will you do if Himachal Pradesh and Haryana police come to Punjab,” quipped Capt Amarinder.

Even as Capt Amarinder remarked that “Your (AAP) chief minister in Delhi can request the Union home minister to provide security there …we can’t do it as it’s not possible constitutionally,” AAP leaders walked out of the meeting.

The chief minister, however, stressed the need to fight the battle, which was led by Punjab but had not become a fight of the nation, constitutionally.

Before the start of the meeting, the leaders observed a two-minute silence and paid tributes to those who had died.

Terming the agitation so far as “historic and unparalleled”, though some miscreants tried to sabotage it through untoward incidents at the Red Fort on Republic Day, the resolution meanwhile said these acts “are truly condemnable and need to be probed thoroughly”.

However, these should not be the reason to victimise the agitating farmers, farm workers, and others including the media persons, said the resolution, calling upon the Government of India “to take steps to ensure that the farmers and farm workers participating in the agitation are not victimised in any manner”.

Through the resolution, the Punjab parties urged the Central government “to withdraw all cases registered against the farmers, farm workers, and journalists, and other peaceful agitators, and release all those detained by the police or any other agencies”.

The missing agitators should also be traced and restored to their respective families without any delay, they said.

Realising the urgent need to ensure socio-economic security and safety of the farmers and farm workers, the parties sought immediate resolution of the crisis by the Government of India “through dialogue in keeping with the principles of cooperative federalism, respecting the constitutional role of the states and the people as enshrined in the Constitution of India”.

They asserted that “we are determined to save and protect the interests of all farmers, farm labourers and the state of Punjab”.

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