Farmers have been protesting in opposition to the centre’s agriculture legal guidelines since November final yr (File)
Farmers protesting the agriculture legal guidelines say they’re prepared to carry talks with the centre to resolve the weeks-long stand-off, however have taken exception to a comment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that refers to “andolan jeevi (skilled protesters)” who’ve hijacked their nationwide protests.
“Now we have by no means refused to carry talks… Each time the federal government has referred to as us we held discussions with Union Ministers. We’re prepared for talks with them,” farmer chief Shivkumar Kakka advised information company PTI.
Nevertheless, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which represents round 40 farmer unions and through which Mr Kakka is among the senior figures, stated the Prime Minister’s comment amounted to “insulting of (the) farmers”, and recalled that “it’s andolans which have liberated India from colonial rulers, and that’s the reason we’re proud to be andolan jeevi“.
“It’s the BJP and its predecessors that by no means did any andolan in opposition to the Britishers… they had been at all times in opposition to the andolans (and) they’re nonetheless afraid of public actions. Farmers might be very happy to get again to farming if the federal government accepts their respectable calls for… it’s the authorities’s adamant angle that’s creating extra andolan jeevis,” the farmers’ physique stated.
“Agitation has an vital position in democracy. Folks have a proper to oppose the federal government’s incorrect insurance policies,” Mr Kakka stated.
Earlier at the moment the Prime Minister advised the Rajya Sabha of the necessity to “shield” India from “parasites that feast on each agitation”.
“… a brand new entity has come up on this nation – ‘andolan jeevi‘… will be noticed wherever there’s a protest… generally on the forefront and generally from behind. They can not stay with out protests. They’re parasites,” the Prime Minister was quoted by information company ANI.
“Now we have to determine such folks and shield the nation from them,” he added.
The centre has often made comparable allegations, claiming that the farmers have been led astray by “Khalistani” or separatist components. Final month it advised the Supreme Courtroom it had intelligence inputs suggesting “Khalistanis” had infiltrated the protests.
Extra just lately the centre has cited tweets by worldwide celebrities – starting with pop star Rihanna, American mannequin Amanda Cerny and Lebanese-American former grownup movie star Mia Khalifa – as a part of a marketing campaign to defame the nation.
All three, and others, have tweeted in assist of the farmers and their proper to protest peacefully.
The Prime Minister appeared to consult with this in his tackle to parliament – he spoke about international harmful ideologies (FDI) and stated: “We should be extra conscious to save lots of the nation…”
The farmers denied any connection to the Prime Minister’s FDI, however stated they “stand with constructive democratic processes that uphold primary human rights wherever on the planet… anticipate reciprocation from like-minded residents all over the world”.
Eleven rounds of talks have been held up to now. Farmers insist they need the three agriculture legal guidelines scrapped and in addition a authorized assure for the MSP (minimal assist value) system.
The centre insists the legal guidelines will profit farmers and is unwilling to repeal them. It has, nevertheless, supplied an 18-month keep and a verbal assurance that MSPs will not be eliminated.
The Prime Minister stated in parliament: “MSP was there, it’s there and can stay.”
The farmers, nevertheless, are skeptical, and stated “empty statements on MSP won’t profit farmers… Farmers will profit… provided that MSP is made right into a authorized assure for all crops”.
On Saturday farmers held a three-hour chakka jam in varied components of the nation, after which Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Rakesh Tikait stated they’d not go away until their calls for had been met.