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HomeIndiaFarmer unions seek PM Modi's intervention to resume talks, threaten bigger agitation

Farmer unions seek PM Modi’s intervention to resume talks, threaten bigger agitation

After 11 rounds, talks between farmer unions and the Modi government over the repeal of three farm laws have been suspended since January.

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New Delhi: As the farmers’ agitation against the Narendra Modi government’s three farm laws approaches the six-month mark, farmer unions wrote a letter to PM Modi Friday, seeking his urgent intervention to resume talks.

Under the banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmer unions, the letter was sent to Modi, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash.

Speaking about the letter, Balbir Singh Rajewal, chief, BKU (Rajewal) told ThePrint, “No democratic government behaves the way this government has behaved with the farmers. That is why we have been forced to write to the Prime Minister to restart dialogue. We have always been ready for talks but the government has refused to budge.”

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha in its letter also warned the government that farmers will intensify their agitation from 26 May — the completion of six months of the sit-in protest at Delhi’s borders, and also the seventh anniversary of the Modi government — if there is no resumption of talks.

“We will take a united decision on how to intensify the protest further but it will depend on the Prime Minister’s response. If they don’t agree, our protest will go on,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokari, general secretary BKU (Ugrahan).

Rajewal added, “20 days ago we had asked for vaccination for all farmers but the government has still not done that. We have distributed medicines on our own, kept a 10-bed facility ready, we give them vitamin and zinc tablets and take care of our protesters but the government hasn’t done anything.”

The last round of talks between the farmers and the government was held on 22 January. The deadlock has continued since, with the farmers refusing to relent on their demand for repeal of the three contentious laws. The government only conceded to make amendments and withdraw the Acts.

Also read: Modi govt raises subsidy on key fertiliser DAP by 140%

‘Prestige point’

In its letter, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha said that despite 11 rounds of talks in the first two months of the protest, the Modi government has refused to budge and shut the doors of dialogue.

“Your government chose to turn this into a prestige point and refused to budge. Worse, your government has shut the doors for any dialogue since 22nd January 2021, even when you claimed the opposite. We have so far lost more than 470 colleagues in this movement due to this obstinacy on the part of your government,” the letter said.

The farmers said the onus of resuming dialogue lies solely with PM Modi. “Mr Prime Minister, this letter is to remind you that, as the head of the government of the largest democracy in the world, the onus of resuming a serious and sincere dialogue with the farmers lies with you,” it said.

The letter also accused the government of allowing “annadatas” to continue to protest even as a pandemic rages through the country.

Don’t want to distract from pandemic, say farmers

The farmers noted that they don’t want to distract the government from tackling the pandemic, but warned of intensifying protests.

“We have waited patiently for the past four months. But if we do not have a constructive and positive response from your government by the 25th of this month, we shall be constrained to announce a further intensification of our struggle in the next phase, beginning with the national day of protest on the 26th of May,” the letter added.

Also read: RSS’ farm affiliate BKS demands Modi govt must roll back ‘free import of pulses’ order


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