New Delhi: The four-hour meeting between the Modi government and the farmer unions protesting the three farm laws remained inconclusive Tuesday.
At the meeting, where Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash talked to farmer leaders, the government offered to form a five-member committee, comprising representatives of both sides, to look into farmers’ concerns.
However, this proposal was rejected by the farmers.
The government has now asked the farmer unions to furnish a list of the objections they have to the laws at the next meeting, scheduled for Thursday.
The farmer unions have agreed to participate in the next round of talks Thursday, but said they will continue their protest at Delhi’s borders.
“Until and unless they withdraw these three black laws, we will not be part of any committee,” said Punjab Kisan Union chief Ruldu Singh Mansa after the meeting.
Gurnam Singh, the chief of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Haryana), described the meeting as “inconclusive”.
“The government wanted to form a five-member committee. We refused because they should have done all this before. Why are they making a committee now when the movement has already come so far?” he added.
Talking about the government’s request that the farmers outline their objections, Hannan Mollah of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella group of 31 farmers organisations leading the protest, said, “The government said it is is willing to look into objections and deficiencies pointed to by the unions and has asked for a written statement on the same on the 3rd.”
Tomar described the meeting as “meaningful”. “We told leaders to form a smaller group and discuss the Act clause by clause. The government has no objection over any discussion. The fourth round of talks will take place on 3 December,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The meeting Tuesday marked the third round of talks between the farmers and the central government since the protests against the farm laws began in September.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana reached Delhi early Friday as part of their ‘Dilli Chalo’ rally, which was meant to culminate at the Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar in central Delhi.
With police in Haryana putting up barricades to stall their progress, the farmers clashed with security personnel on their way to Delhi as well as at the capital’s border with Haryana at Singhu before being allowed to move to the Nirankari Ground in north Delhi’s Burari.
The protesting farmers, however, have refused to accept the offer of moving to Burari and have been camping at the Singhu border since Friday.
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