Farmer unions express willingness to talk, ask govt to remove obstacles

NEW DELHI: Showing willingness to talk to the government, the farmers protesting against the farm laws on Tuesday said the former should remove “obstacles” and open the doors for dialogue. This comes after a month-and-a-half after negotiations between the two sides were held last. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of the farmer unions protesting against the Centre’s new agriculture laws, said the government should remove “obstacles” and open the doors for a dialogue. The talks between the farmers and the government are deadlocked. The two sides have held 11 rounds of talks, the last one being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the protests at different border points of the national capital that began in November last year. “The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has always been in favour of dialogue. The government should remove various obstacles and open the way for dialogue,” a statement issued by the SKM said. The farmers have already rejected the old proposal of the government, it said. Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had last month said the government was ready to resume the talks with the protesting farmers, but first they should respond to its offer to put the three contentious farm laws on hold for a year and a half and set up a joint committee to find solutions. The talks between the two sides have not resumed following the widespread violence during a tractor rally by the protesting farmers on January 26. The protesters have been demanding a repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops. It has been more than three months since the protests began at Delhi’s borders and the government is not even showing basic humanity towards the protesters, the SKM alleged. It also condemned and “opposed” the Haryana Recovery of Damages to Property During Disturbance to Public Order Bill, 2021, claiming that it will suppress the voice of people. “This effort is being made to suppress the current farmers’ movement and engage the farmers in false cases,” the SKM said. In order to strengthen the movement nationwide, a joint session of trade unions, transport unions and rights organisations will be held on Wednesday, it added.

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