New Delhi: After a long meeting at Singhu border, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Saturday announced the postponement of much anticipated farmers’ tractor march on November 29 to Parliament against three Central farm laws.
The decision to postpone the march comes two days ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, during which a Bill to repeal three Central farm laws is slated to be introduced. According to reports, the Bill will be tabled on Monday.
At a press conference, Darshan Pal, President of Krantikari Kisan Union, said the morcha, after taking into consideration the announcement of withdrawal of the controversial farm laws, has postponed the proposed farmers’ march to Parliament and will wait for the government’s announcement regarding minimum support price (MSP) and a slew of other demand, including withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2021.
“The government has to principally agree on the fact that farmers need MSP as per Swaminathan Commission’s report to come out of debt. Then, it (government) should announce a committee where farmers and government will deliberate on the crops to be covered under MSP and other modalities,” he said.
Pal said: “The Prime Minister must understand that any resolution to our demands and ongoing agitation will only come out of dialogue, not one- sided pronouncements on national television.”
The farmers, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had also asked for withdrawal of criminal cases registered against farmers for participating in protests, withdrawal of Electricity Amendment Bill 2021, decriminalising the burning of stubble and allotment of land for building a martyrs’ memorial at Singhu Border.
Earlier in the day, Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar announced that the government would decriminalise the burning of stubble. On criminal cases, Tomar asked farmers to approach respective state governments for cancellation. “The government has decided to form a committee to discuss MSP and crop diversification in which the leaders of farmers’ organisations will also be members. PM Narendra Modi has already announced that the government will repeal the three farm laws. In this context, I urge farmers to end their agitation at the borders of the national capital,” Tomar said.
Reacting to the Minister’s comments, Inderjit Singh, vice president, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), told NewsClick that Tomar was “misleading the farmers” by saying that state governments should withdraw cases against them. “A plethora of cases against farmers have been registered by the Railways itself, which functions directly under the Union government. It (government) should first begin with Railways,” he said.
In a press statement, SKM, a collective of over 40 farmers’ organisations, said after the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the repeal of the three farm laws, and the Cabinet clearing the same, the morcha hass suspended its tractor march programme scheduled from November 29, for now. SKM reiterated its six demands, raised in the letter to the Prime Minister, vis-à-vis legal guarantee of MSP for all produce based on C2+50% formula, withdrawal of the draft Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020/2021, removal of penal provisions on farmers in the “Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021”, withdrawal of false cases against the farmers over the course of the movement, dismissal and arrest of Minister of State Ajay Mishra Teni ( for his alleged involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence), and compensation and rehabilitation to the families of the martyrs of the farm movement and allocation of land to build a memorial in their memory at Singhu border.
Massive Mahapanchayat in Mumbai on Sunday
SKM said that a massive Kisan-Mazdoor Mahapanchayat would be held at Azad Maidan, Mumbai, on Sunday. The event, to be hosted by over 100 organisations under the banner of Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM), will be addressed by several prominent SKM leaders.
The Mahapanchayat will witness a massive gathering of farmers and workers from across Maharashtra and will raise the demands of the farm movement, SKM said, adding that it is a culmination of over month-long programmes which began with the flagging off of the Shaheed Kalash Yatras on October 27 from the birth place of Mahatma Phule in Pune.
Shaheed Kalash Yatras were taken across every district of Maharashtra tospread the message of the farm movement, while seeking justice in the Lakhimpur Kheri killings. Today, all these yatras reached Mumbai and paid homage at the memorial to B R Ambedkar at Chaitya Bhoomi, at the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji at Shivaji Park, the memorial to Martyr Babu Genu who was crushed in Mumbai in 1930 by a British-driven truck when he opposed British cloth during the freedom struggle, and the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near Mantralaya.