Amit Shah's talks with farmer leaders fail; another meeting uncertain

DY365
DY365
Published: December 9,2020 08:09 AM
DY365

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December 9, 2020: Late night talks called by Home Minister Amit Shah ended in failure Tuesday as farmer leaders rejected the government's offer to amend new farm laws, saying they would settle for not

December 9, 2020: Late night talks called by Home Minister Amit Shah ended in failure Tuesday as farmer leaders rejected the government's offer to amend new farm laws, saying they would settle for nothing less than the scrapping of the statues.



The meeting came on a day a 'Bharat Bandh', observed by farmers to press their demand, affected life in some states.



Shah called 13 leaders -- eight from Punjab-based peasant unions and five from broader national organisations of farmers -- for an informal meeting on a short notice, but no breakthrough could be achieved after nearly four hour of discussions.



Shah's efforts, a day before the scheduled sixth round of talks between the government and farmer unions, were aimed at ending the protests on Delhi's borders that have been going on for 12 days.



At the meeting, Shah requested farmer leaders "to end the agitation and said the government will send a proposal in writing.... Some farmer unions asked why the government did not consult them before bringing these laws. To which, the ministers...said there is no point in looking back," Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh national president Shiv Kumar Kakka said.



Three union ministers who have been leading the government's consultations with the agitating farmers -- Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash -- were part of the meeting.



Farmer leader Darshan Pal of AIKSCC, who attended the meeting with Shah, said, "The central government will send us a note on our demands tomorrow.... There won't be any meeting between the Union government and farmer leaders tomorrow."



All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah said after the meeting that ended around midnight, "Shah-ji said the government will give tomorrow in writing the amendments which the government is keen to (make). We will decide about attending the meeting after discussing the written amendments with all 40 farmer unions."



While there was no official words from the government on the status of Wednesday's scheduled meeting, many union leaders said there is no question of attending it and that they would take a call on their next course of action after studying the government's written proposal.



Farmer leaders have claimed that the laws will benefit corporates and end the mandi system and the minimum support price (MSP) regime.



The government has maintained that it is committed to the welfare of farmers and have presented these laws as major reforms for their benefits.