As farmers’ protest enters day 55, farmers continue to protest around the capital against the three farm laws, amidst biting cold in colossal numbers. The 10th round of talks between farmers and the Centre, which was scheduled for today, has been postponed to tomorrow.
On the other hand, four member panel appointed by the Supreme Court is to hold its first meeting today. The committee is scheduled to hold a meeting with the farmers on 21st January. The panel constitutes of Bhupinder Singh Mann, National President, Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee; Pramod Kumar Joshi, Agricultural Economist and Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Economist and Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; and Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Sanghatana.
The farmers’ unions have refused to be a part the committee set up by the apex court as they believe that the panel is pro government. “We don’t know, we’re not going (to first meeting of SC-formed committee). Nobody from the agitation approached Court. Govt. brought Bill through Ordinance, it was tabled in the House. It’ll go back the same route it came from”, said Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union in a statement.
Anil Ghanwat, member of SC-formed committee in a statement said, “It has been decided that the first meet with farmers will be held on Jan 21st. Physical meeting will be held with those organisations who want to meet us in person. Video conferencing will be held with those who can’t come to us”
He added, “If the govt wants to come and speak with us, we welcome it. We will hear the Govt too. The biggest challenge is to convince the agitating farmers to come and speak with us, we will try our level best”
As the protest intensifies, questions on national security have been doing rounds amid the call for ‘Tractor Rally’ by the farmers on 26th January. The Supreme Court has left it on Delhi police to decide on whether to allow the rally to take place in the national capital on Republic Day. The next hearing of the court is scheduled to take place on 20th January. Meeting between the farmers and the Delhi and UP police is was held today over the tractor parade. Home Minister Amit Shah also held a high-level meeting with officials of Delhi police today.
The Farmer unions have announced that they will go ahead with tractor rally anyway and the protest will be peaceful. There will be close to 5-6 lakh tractors and they will not enter Delhi but will move in a circle on the Outer Ring Road.