Protest to continue till six demands, including legal guarantee of MSP, is met: SKM
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a body of farmer unions, on Monday reiterated its six demands raised before the government, including legal guarantee of minimum support price for crops, and said it will continue with its agitation till they are met.
The body also said that its agitation will not be called off at Delhi's border points, till the three farm laws, which triggered a year of protests by farmers, are formally repealed in Parliament.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday in his address to the nation had announced the Centre's decision to repeal the laws.
"The SKM (Samyukt Kisan Morcha) sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi late evening yesterday, after its meeting at Singhu Border. In this letter, SKM pointed out that the prime minister has chosen the path of unilateral declaration of the government's decision to repeal the three farm laws rather than a bilateral solution, but also welcomed the announcement," the SKM said in a statement.
The Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana was the fountainhead of the farmers' protest, which started last year in November, two months after enactment of the laws. From there the movement gradually expanded to the Ghazipur border between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh and other sites.
The SKM also sought withdrawal of cases against farmers and building of a memorial for the protesters who died during the agitation against the three contentious central laws.
Despite the prime minister's surprise Friday announcement of repealing the three agri laws, farmer leaders have maintained that they won't budge until the laws are formally repealed in Parliament.
They have also indicated that their stir for a statutory guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) and withdrawal of the Electricity Amendment Bill will continue.
While thanking Modi for his decision, the SKM, in its letter, had said, "After 11 rounds of talks, you chose the path of unilateral declaration rather than a bilateral solution."
"MSP based on the comprehensive cost of production should be made a legal entitlement of all farmers for all agricultural produce so that every farmer of the country can be guaranteed MSP announced by the government for their entire crop. Withdraw the draft 'Electricity Amendments Bill, 2020/2021'," the letter read.
It also sought removal of penal provisions against farmers in the 'Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021'.
The SKM's demands also include the sacking and arrest of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, whose son is an accused in the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, in which farmers were killed.
Over a dozen people, including the minister's son Ashish Mishra, have been arrested so far in the violence case.
On the agitation against the three laws, the letter to the prime minister said, "Thousands of farmers have been implicated in hundreds of cases during this movement (June 2020 till date) in Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and several other states. These cases should be withdrawn immediately."
"During this movement, about 700 farmers have died. There should be compensation and rehabilitation support for their families. Land should be allotted at the Singhu Border to build a memorial for the deceased farmers," it stated.
The SKM warned that the agitation will continue till the government resumes talks with it over the six issues listed in the letter.
"Prime minister, you have appealed to the farmers that we should now go back home. We want to assure you that we are not fond of sitting on the streets. We too desire to return to our homes, families and farming after resolving these issues as soon as possible," the SKM said.
If the agitation has to end, then the government should immediately resume talks with the SKM on the six issues. Till then, the SKM will continue this movement," it said.