The eighth round of talks between the government and 41 representatives of farmers’ unions protesting against the farm laws again ended in a deadlock on Friday (January 8). There could be another round of talks on January 15 after the hearing by the Supreme Court on January 11 on petitions against the laws.
The two sides refused to relent from their earlier stance, with the farmers saying only the repealing of the laws will pacify them, and the government saying that is out of question. The meeting was held at the Vigyan Bhawan in the heart of the national capital.
The farmer leaders told the government that their ghar wapsi from the protest sites at Delhi’s borders can happen only after law wapsi, but the Centre insisted talks must be limited to contentious clauses and ruled out a complete withdrawal of the laws.
At the eighth round of negotiations, the government ruled out repealing the laws asserting that the reforms have been welcomed by a large section of farmers in various states and asked the unions to think about the interests of the entire country.
But the farmers reiterated that the laws should be scrapped. “Our ghar wapsi (return to home) can happen only if you do law wapsi (repeal of laws),” a farmer leader said at the meeting. “Ideally, the Centre should not interfere in agriculture matters as various Supreme Court orders have declared farming as a state subject. It seems you (the government) do not want to resolve the issue as talks have been happening for so many days. In that case, please give us a clear answer and we will go. Why waste everyone’s time?” another farmer leader said at the meeting.
Around one hour after the meeting, the three ministers stepped out of the discussion hall for their own internal consultations, after union leaders decided to observe silence while holding out papers with slogans, including jeetenge ya marenge (We will either win or die).
Just before the meeting, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) member Kavitha Kuruganti had said: “If no solution is arrived at in today’s (Friday’s) meeting, we will continue with our plan of tractor rally on January 26.”
The agitating farmers took out tractor rallies on Thursday (January 7) to press their demand for a rollback of the laws, while the Centre asserted that it was ready to consider any proposal other than a repeal of the legislations.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a month now against the three laws, despite the cold weather and heavy rains.
(With agency inputs)