At least 10 organisations representing farmers in several states met Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar to lend support to the three farm laws on Monday, on a day as many as 40 farmer leaders of the United Farmers Front began their day-long hunger strike at various border points near Delhi against the Centre’s newly-enacted legislation. This is the fourth group of farmers who have extended support to the laws in the last fortnight.
According to news agency ANI, the 10 organisations from various states like Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Bihar and Haryana, associated with All India Kisan Coordination Committee, submitted a memorandum to the Union agriculture minister. “Members of All India Kisan Coordination Committee had come from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Bihar. They supported farm laws and gave us a letter on the same. They said that the Modi government has done this for the welfare of farmers and that they welcome and support it,” Tomar was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier in the day, the agriculture minister said that the government is engaging with farmers’ leaders to decide on the next date of talks. The government is ready for discussion anytime and the farmers’ leaders have to “decide and convey” when they are ready for the next meeting, he added. “The meeting will definitely happen. We are engaging with farmers,” Tomar told PTI.
On Sunday, a delegation of more than 100 farmers from Uttarakhand had extended their support to the laws. Before that, a delegation of 29 farmers from Haryana met Tomar on Saturday to extend their support to the new legislations and threatened to stage a protest if those are repealed. The delegation, led by Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (Mann) Haryana state leader Guni Prakash, submitted a “letter of support” to Tomar on the farm laws passed by Parliament in September and demanded the government to continue with these legislations.
Last week, farmers, representing Har Kisan, an organisation of 116 farmer-owned agricultural enterprises known as farmer producer organisations, met the agriculture minister and asked for a separate meeting with him with more members. The farmers’ group from Haryana said they were not opposed to any amendments that the government may be considering but they want to the laws to be in force.
Thousands of farmers, largely from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the farm laws and vowed to intensify their agitation if the government did not repeal the laws. There have been five rounds of talks between the Centre and representatives of 40 farmers’ unions so far and they have remained inconclusive. The sixth round was scrapped after they rejected the government’s draft proposal to amend certain provisions of the farm laws and declined to participate in the meeting. The government has made it clear that it is ready for discussion anytime. But the farmer unions have said they would come for talks only if the laws are repealed.