NEW DELHI: The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a joint platform of farmers’ groups spearheading the agitation against the three central farm laws, on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention for resumption of talks with farmers on their key demands including repeal of the three laws and legal guarantee to procurement at minimum support price (MSP).
In the backdrop of death of farmers due to Covid19 at their protest site at Singhu Border, the SKM underlined that though the protesting farmers do not wish to expose anyone to the health hazards during the pandemic, they will not give up on the struggle as it is a “matter of life and death for them, and for their future generations”.
Nine farmer leaders of the SKM in their joint letter to the Prime Minister said if they do not have a constructive and positive response from the government by May 25, they would announce “further intensification” of their struggle in the next phase, beginning with the “national day of protest” on May 26. The farmers’ protests at Delhi borders will complete six months on May 26 – the day which the SKM decides to observe as a ‘black flag day’.
The last (11th) round of talks between government and unions of protesting farmers was held on January 22. The government side had offered the unions a proposal to put the implementation of laws on hold for 18 months and find an amicable solution to their demands through a joint committee.
The unions had, however, rejected the offer, leading to a stalemate. They have since then held a position that they won’t talk unless the government agrees to repeal the three laws and also to their demand of giving legal guarantee to procurement at MSP.
The letter was sent to the Prime Minister through email with CC to all the three ministers – Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash – who had been involved in different rounds of talks with the farmers.
“We do not wish to distract the government at this juncture, even though the hardship we face is mounting every day. That is why we have waited patiently for the past four months. But if we do not have a constructive and positive response from your government by May 25, we shall be constrained to announce a further intensification of our struggle in the next phase, beginning with the national day of protest on May 26,” said the farmer leaders.
The joint letter on behalf of SKM was written by Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal, Gurnam Singh Chadhuni, Hannan Mollah, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Shiv Kumar Kakkaji, Yogendra Yadav and Yudhvir Singh.
Referring to their protests, they said, “Any democratic government would have repealed the three laws that have been rejected by the farmers in whose name these were enacted and seized this opportunity to provide legal guarantee of minimum support price to all farmers.”
Besides reiterating their key demands, the farmer leaders through the letter to Modi also demanded that “the government must deploy all the energy and resources at its command to respond to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that has now spread to rural areas as well”.