Agitated farmers protesting against the centre's contentious farm laws have rejected the Centre's offer of amendments in the laws, and announced their plans to intensify their protest. The decision was taken at a meeting after the Centre sent a written proposal with several amendments.
A meeting called by Home Minister Amit Shah ended in failure on Tuesday night as farmers rejected the centre's offer to amend new farm laws.
Agitated farmers threatened to block the Delhi-Jaipur Highway, boycott Reliance malls and capture toll plazas. They have warned of a full-scale protest across the country by December 14.
- Farmer leader Dr Darshanpal said, "We will block the Delhi-Jaipur highway by December 12. We will sit on dharna at all the toll plazas of country on December 12. We have called for a nationwide protest on 14th. We have asked the people to protest against every MP and MLA of the BJP".
"The government's proposal, after Amit Shah's meeting, was put in front of all farm leaders. and we all decided that the proposal is an insult to farmers. The proposal is also an insult to the Indian citizens," the farm leaders said. The farm leaders maintained that they want the laws to be scrapped.
- In the proposal sent to farmer unions, the Centre promised a written assurance for minimum support prices, permitting farmers to go to court to resolve disputes instead of a sub-divisional magistrate and removal of the Electricity Amendment bill, which they opposed.
- The government also suggested amendments in the laws to address the concerns or grievances of farmers. The centre said it can be clarified that no buyer can take loans against farmland and no such such condition will be made to farmers.
- The centre also suggested amendments so that state governments can register the traders operating outside mandis. States can also impose tax and cess as they used in the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis on them.
- The BJP said it was evidence that farmers had support for the Centre's reforms. "Despite the opposition's attack on farm reforms, people are supporting the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Union minister Prakash Javadekar said after claiming gains in Rajasthan local body elections.
- Javadekar described the talks with farmers as "work in progress". "If negotiations are going on between two parties, it will be considered work-in-progress. There can be no running commentary on this. It is work-in-progress," the minister said.
- Some opposition leaders met President Ram Nath Kovind on December 8 to submit a memorandum on the farmers' issues.
- "In all five meetings with the farmer unions, the government held marathon discussions on the same points (that figured in the proposal). Finally, we asked them (government) to answer in 'yes or no' whether they want to repeal the three new laws and guarantee MSP or not?" farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said.
- The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) asked the Modi governmen to 'stop playing games' with farmers and withdraw the laws 'immediately and unconditionally'. The SAD also said that the Centre's proposals to amend the three laws were nothing but delaying tactics which have rightly been rejected by the farmers.
Over 10 days ago, thousands of farmers had reached the national capital's borders to protest against the farm laws, which they say will reduce their income and scrap the minimum support price of their produce. The government, however, claims that the laws are major reforms in the farm sector that will allow farmers to sell produce anywhere in the country.