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Farmers unions have decided to defer their plan to hold a march to Parliament amid the second wave of Covid-19. However, the unions have called upon farmers who have finished harvesting winter crops to return to protest sites on different Delhi border points.
“A decision (on whether to call off the protest) will be taken at the appropriate time, but it (protest) has not been cancelled,” said Ashish Mittal, a leader of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (United Farmers’ Front) briefing reporters after discussion among all the protesting farmer unions.
The proposed march to parliament was scheduled to be held on the first fortnight of May.
Reacting to the reported plan of the government to remove the protesters using force, Mittal said we would ensure any such action is foiled. Any use of force against peaceful protesters will have far-reaching consequences across the country, he warned.
As farmers plan to reinforce their number, they have also made an elaborate week-long plan from April 24 for vaccination at protest sites. He also said that awareness about wearing a mask, ambulance and other healthcare arrangements are being created. There will also be an all-India convention of farmers on May 10 at the Singhu border in which farmers across the country will join through video conferencing.
Last week, SKM had stated that they were ready for dialogue and urged the government to send a proposal for talks. Protesting farmer unions have been maintaining since November 27 last year, when the protest started on the Delhi’s border, to continue the stir until three contentious farm laws are repealed and a legally guaranteed MSP mechanism is put in place.
The Supreme Court, in January, stayed the implementation of the three farm laws and appointed a committee of experts to submit a report after talking to all the stakeholders. After the panel submitted its report, SC is yet to begin hearings on the issue. Farmer unions had also rejected the Centre’s offer to continue the discussion saying it was conditional on accepting the government’s proposal to withhold the laws for 12-18 months.
The last dialogue was held on January 22 after which the government has not invited the farmer leaders for the talks saying it will wait till they “re-consider” (accept) its proposal to keep the laws in abeyance. Even though farmer leaders are keen to resume the dialogue with the government, at the same time they have been continuing with their mass mobilisation programme against the three farm laws in various states.
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