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After Centre’s ‘Offer’ on Demands, SKM to Take Final Call on Calling off Protest Tomorrow

Some farmer leaders said they wanted clarity on some issues, even as Centre put a rider on meeting their demands only after the protest was called off.
farmers SKM

New Delhi: The crucial meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) at Singhu border to decide the future course of action may decide to call of the sit-in protests on Delhi’s borders but a final decision will be taken at its meeting on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

According to reports, Tuesday’s meeting hasstretched to another day after the Centre sent a draft proposal ‘softening’ its stance on the pending demands to the five-member committee set up by the farmers’ collective, which has been spearheading a year-long movement. Some leaders reportedly wanted clarity on some of issues in the Centre’s proposed offer.

After the Centre repealed the three contentious farm laws, following a valiant one year struggle by farmers that saw over 700 of them losing their lives, the SKM had said it would call of its sit-in protests only after the government brought in a law to guarantee minimum support  prices (MSP) for all crops, withdraws cases against farmers, gives compensation to the deceased farmers’ families and also repeal the Electricity Amendment Bill, which is listed to be passed  during the ongoing Winter session of Parliament.

Tuesday’s crucial SKM meeting held at the Singhu border was marathon, with  sources saying that some leaders were in favour of calling off the stir.

 According to NDTV, the Centre’s draft proposal was reportedly “open” to giving a written assurances MSP guarantee and withdrawal of police cases.

Sources told NDTV that the Centre offered to form a committee to decide the MSP issue, consisting of government officials, agriculture experts and SKM representatives.

Since the meeting was inconclusive, the SKM said it would meet again on Wednesday as they needed to seek some clarification from the government on its offer.

One sticky point, according to reports, was the Centre’s rider that police cases would be withdrawn only after the protest ended.

"The Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments have agreed to withdraw cases with the end of the protest. Departments related to the Government of India and the Union Territory have agreed to withdraw cases as farmers end their protest," the Centre assured the farmers, according to an IANS report.

On the demand for withdrawal of the draft Electricity Bill, the Centre reportedly said that the opinion of all stakeholders would be taken into account before tabling it in Parliament.

"We discussed the proposal received from the Union government. Some farmers felt that some more clarification was needed on some issues. We hope that we will receive a reply from the Centre. Government has put some conditions and we want unconditional assurance," farmer leader Yudhvir Singh was quoted as saying by IANS.

Incidentally, on Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi demanded compensation and jobs from the Centre for the next of kin of farmers who died during the year-long agitation against the three farm laws on the borders of the national capital.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Gandhi slammed the Narendra Modi government for its inability to maintain data on the death of farmers during the year-long agitation and tabled a list of farmers who were paid compensation and given jobs in Punjab and Haryana.

Congress members also demanded a statement from the government on the issue and walked out of the House along with NCP and DMK members while raising slogans against the government.

It may be recalled that last Friday, the farmers had sent the names of martyred farmers who died at the protest sites to the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, after the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, in his statement in Parliament, had denied providing compensation as the Ministry had no data about died farmers.

(With inputs from PTI)

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