The farmers’ agitation continued for the 49th day on Wednesday against the three new Central farm laws enacted last year. The agitating farmers have decided to burn copies of the farm laws on the occasion of Lohri.
Harinder Singh, General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), said that on the occasion of Lohri on Wednesday farmers in Punjab, Haryana and other states of the country will burn copies of all three Union farm laws.
Asked about the committee set up by the Supreme Court to resolve the farmers’ issue, Harinder Singh said the farmers are demanding repeal of the three laws so they have refused to appear before the committee.
He said the Central government had also suggested a solution by forming a committee which was unanimously rejected by all the farmers organisations.
The farmers have been sitting at the borders of the national capital since November 26, 2020. Singhu border is the main protest site where a special programme would be held to burn the copies of the farm laws.
Punjab farmer leader and BKU General Secretary, Pal Majra, who was present at the Singhu border, said that a meeting of farmers organisations is being held from 12 p.m. in which the complete schedule for burning copies of the three farm laws would be decided.
The farmers unions leaders are demanding withdrawal of The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. They are also demanding a legal guarantee for procurement of crops at the the Minimum Support Price.
After hearing various petitions filed before the Supreme Court related to the new farm laws and the farmers’ agitation, the apex court on Tuesday decided to put the implementation of these laws on hold and set up a four member committee comprising of agricultural experts to find solutions to the problems of the farmers.
However, after the Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said in a statement on behalf of the farmer organisations that all the four members of the committee constituted by the apex court are in favour of the farm laws. In a statement issued by the Morcha, farmer leader Darshan Pal said that we are satisfied that the Supreme Court has recognized the right of the farmers to protest democratically and peacefully.
The statement said the Samyukta Kisan Morcha welcomes the Supreme Court’s order staying the implementation of all three ‘anti-farmer laws’ as the judgement validates their stand that all three laws are unconstitutional.
Darshan Pal said, “But this adjournment order is temporary which can be reversed any time. Our protest is to repeal these three laws and not their postponement. So only on the basis of this stay order by the SC we (farmer unions) can’t change the various programmes announced by us.”
He added, “We respect the Supreme Court but we have not urged it for mediation in this matter and we have nothing to do with any committee. Whether this committee is meant to give technical opinion to the court or to mediate talks between the farmers and the Central government, the farmers have nothing to do with this committee.”
“All the members of the four member committee that the apex court has declared have been advocates of the three Central farm laws and for the past several months have been unsuccessfully trying to create an atmosphere in favour of these laws,” Darshan Pal added.
Taking up the cause of the farmers who are protesting against the three contentious agricultural laws, Congress leader and former Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Wednesday that in a democracy, laws are framed by elected representatives, and not by the courts.
“In a democracy, laws are made by elected representatives of the people, not by the honourable courts or committees… Any mediation, debate or discussion should have happened among the farmers and the Parliament,” Sidhu said in a tweet.
In another tweet, he said: “Justice? — you get justice in the next world, in this world you have the laws! The more laws the less justice.”
Sidhu’s assertions came a day after the farmers’ unions in a joint statement said the Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the three Central farm laws as an interim measure, which is a welcome step, but not a solution.