Farmers’ agitation suspended, protesting farmers to head home from Dec 11
At last more than year-long historic farmers’ agitation is withdrawn on Thursday after the government has agreed to all demands in the wake of forthcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the joint forum of farmers on Thursday announced the suspension of its over a year-long agitation and said farmers will head home from December 11 from protests sites on Delhi’s borders.
The announcement came after the SKM received an official letter from the Central government, accepting the pending demands of farmers, including unconditional withdrawal of police cases against protesters. Farmer leaders said they would meet on January 15 to see if the demands have been met by the government, asserting that this is not the end of the movement. Even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement on November 19 on the withdrawal of all three controversial farm laws, the farmers were continuing to protest seeking the formation of a mechanism on minimum support price (MSP). Modi Government also assured farmers that a committee on MSP which will include SKM members will be formed.
“This is not the end as the movement is just suspended. We have decided to meet again on January 15,” SKM core committee member Balbir Singh Rajewal said at a press conference. Jubilant farmers leader Rakesh Tikait tweeted:
1 साल 13 दिन चला किसानों का आंदोलन समस्याओं के समाधान की परिणति को प्राप्त हुआ। किसान एकता से मिली यह कामयाबी 709 शहीदों को समर्पित। किसान हकों की लड़ाई जारी रहेगी ।#FarmersProtests pic.twitter.com/Ah0hjz0Xa0
— Rakesh Tikait (@RakeshTikaitBKU) December 9, 2021
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, started protesting at Delhi border points — Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur — on November 26 last year against the three contentious farm laws. The laws were repealed by Parliament on November 29, but farmers continued their protest over their pending demands. Another SKM member Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that “a review meeting will be convened on January 15 to see if the government has met all the demands. If it does not, we can take a call on resuming the protest.” Farmer leaders also said that farmers will take out victory marches on December 11 to their respective places.
The SKM, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, which has been spearheading the agitation, also apologized to people who had to face inconvenience due to its protests. The letter sent to the SKM by the Centre said the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana have agreed to withdraw cases against farmers with immediate effect. Cases registered against farmers in Delhi and other states will also be withdrawn, it added.
The assurance letter from the government also clarified that the status quo will be maintained on procurement of crops on MSP in the country. In the letter, the Centre has informed farmers that Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have given in-principal approval to provide compensation to kin of family members of farmers who died during the agitation. It also clarified that the Electricity Amendment Bill will not be tabled in Parliament until government discusses provisions impacting farmers with SKM. Stubble burning has already been decriminalized, the Central government letter said.
SKM core committee member Darshan Pal said that farmer groups should now form a pressure group and not a political party to change the situation in Punjab. He said that the SKM had achieved a 60 percent win on November 19, when an announcement to repeal the three farm laws was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 35 percent has been achieved on Thursday, suggesting that the remaining five percent would be when all demands will be fulfilled.
“The January 15 meeting will also discuss how to present the SKM as a national level morcha. Farmer leaders who want to join politics should leave the SKM. The SKM will remain apolitical,” Pal said. Border protest sites were brimming with energy and farmers were eager to go back home. However, there was no major celebration because of the demise of Chief of Defence Staff General Rawat in the crash. The farmer leaders also paid tributes to those killed in the unfortunate incident.
More than a year-long farmers’ protest has literally taught Prime Minister Modi and the ruling party BJP which thought to bulldoze any bills in Parliament as per their whims and fancies. This is a historic protest which forced Government to reverse policies and laws.
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