Farmers protest shouldn't become replica of Tablighi meet: SC

Farmers block expressway near Indian capital to protest Modi's new laws

Briefing the media after the talks, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said no decision could be reached as the farmer leaders did not present alternatives to their demand for the repeal of the laws.

The farmers told the government that it would be a time consuming process.

The eighth round of talks between the farmers and the government held on January 8 failed to end the impasse yet again as the Centre ruled out any possibility of repealing the three agri-reform laws. They also said that they will spend the harvest festivals of Lohri and Baisakhi at the protest sites if their demands are not met. The government told farmers that it would only repeal laws if the Supreme Court declares them illegal. He said that since farmers everywhere are supporting the laws they should end their agitation.

In the seven round of talks between the farmers' unions and the government so far, two of the four demands have been met with.

SAD leader and former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the Centre has lost the trust of the entire farming community and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should directly talk to farmers who are registering their protests at the doorstep of the national capital, news agency PTI reported. They told Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar that the government does not want to resolve the matter, but was dragging it unnecessarily. We do not wish to have clause wise discussions.

Amid tight security, thousands of Indian farmers riding tractors on Thursday started their tractor-march from protest sites near Delhi border points against three contentious farm sector reform laws passed by parliament a year ago, and vowed to intensify their agitation if their demand for repeal of the legislations was not met. Why should we go to the SC for settlement? "Why to waste everyone's time", a leader said during the meeting.

Petrol, diesel prices near all-time high
Every dollar per barrel rise in crude prices increases India's oil import bill by ₹10,700 crore on an annualized basis. In Chennai , the petrol price now is Rs 86.96 a litre, a shade lower than historic high level of Rs 87.33 a litre.

The farmers would not even take the usual lunch or tea break "under protest", refusing to budge from the conference room while the government delegation left for an hour-long break.

Earlier during the day, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhury expressed hopes that a resolution will be reached after Friday's meeting. "These laws are a death knell for farmers", said Hannan Mollah of the All India Kisan Sabha.

A bunch of pleas challenging the new farm laws and also those related to the ongoing farmers' protest at Delhi's borders are scheduled to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on 11 January. The government is continuously talking to the unions who want these laws be repealed. We will not accept any amendments. The government is taking it as a prestige issue and not taking back the laws.

Just before the meeting, Kuruganti had said: "If no solution arrived in today " s meeting, we will continue with our plan of tractor rally on January 26". "There is no change in our stand since the beginning", she added.

While acknowledging the right to non-violent protest of farmers, the apex court was also of the view that their right to protest should not infringe the fundamental rights of others to move freely and in getting essential food and other supplies as right to protest can not mean blockade of the entire city.

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