As the Supreme Court on Thursday heard the issue of the ongoing protest of the farmers and made some suggestions to untangle the present deadlock, the protesting unions of the farmers remained stern on their demand to withdraw the laws first. A crucial meeting is being held at the BJP headquarters to discuss the farmers’ issues with party general secretaries. The meeting is to be attended by Union home minister Amit Shah, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, commerce minister Piyush Goyal.
Agreeing to what Supreme Court pointed out that the issue must be resolved soon, Bharatiya Kisan Union national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait on Thursday said the future course of action will be taken after discussion with panchayat. As the apex court noted that the farmers have rights to protest but not blocking a city, Tikait said that the protesters have not blocked roads. The barricades have been put up by police, he said.
“Supreme Court is right that the issue should be resolved soon. We’ll go if we’re called. Government wants amendments, while we want them to take back the laws,” Tikait said.
The Supreme Court on Thursday noted that farmers have rights to protest but sitting on roads will not bring about any solution. A panel for mediation is likely to be set up with representations of farmers and the Centre. Experts like P Sainath can also be members of the panel. As the panel gets formed and starts working, the farmers can continue their protests, the Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, said. It also asked attorney general of India KK Venugopal whether the government can commit to not implement to laws as long as the hearing on the case is going on. The AG said if the laws are not implemented, then farmers will not continue the talks to which the SC bench said the move is aimed at facilitating further talks. The AG sought some time to take direction from the government.
Since the three bills were passed in Parliament in September, there have been five rounds of talks between the Centre and the farmers. Three rounds of talks have been held in December after thousands of farmers started ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest rally on November 26. The protest has entered its 21st day on Thursday. No date for another round of meeting has been finalised yet.