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Ready for talk, but our demands will not change: Rakesh Tikait

Swati Sharma
Swati Sharma
Farmers protest
Farmers Protest

Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that the farmers protesting against the centre’s new farm laws were ready to talk if the centre invites them. Nevertheless, our demands will not change, he added. 

Till now, 11 rounds of talks took place between the government and Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, a union representative of the protesting farmers. The last conference was held on January 22. However, they reached no progress to break the deadlock. 

The demands remain the same – should nullify all the three farms bills, a new law made to ensure minimum support price [MSP] for crops, Tikait said. 

Tikait’s comments came as a reply against Haryana home minister Anil Vij’s appeal to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to start talks with the protestors again. Vij had advised that he was worried about the health of the protesting farmers along Delhi’s Borders as the coronavirus rate increasing rapidly. 

On Saturday, Tomar requested farmers to postpone their protest because of the second wave of covid 19, adding that the centre was ready to discuss their demands. I had asked the union leader often to invite children and old age people to go back home because of covid 19, he added. Now the second wave has also started, farmers and their unions must follow the covid guidelines. They should carry over the protest and have discussions with us.

Despite the centre’s effort to discuss the matter, farmer unions continued their agitation. The government has invited them to review the problematic areas and accordingly make changes in them. 

Thousands of farmers have camped since November outside Delhi, demanding the centre to reverse the three laws that open up agriculture to private companies. Farmers fear that the policies will make their lives unsafe to corporate exploitation and take apart the minimum support price regime. 

The protest had been peaceful until violence broke out during the farmer tractor’s rally in Delhi on January 26. One person was killed, and over 300 police officials have injured because protestors broke through barricades and poured into Delhi, clashing with the police, who tried to push them back with tear gas and batons. A group of protests also march to Red Fort. 

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