Tomar says govt willing to engage with 'genuine' unions
New Delhi: As protesting farmers at the Capital's gates responded to Prime Minister Modi's remarks on a "conspiracy" among them in a fiery press conference, holding him responsible for the death of what they claimed to be 20 farmers during the protests; Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday once again conveyed what has become the Centre's rock-solid position in the matter — that they are ready to continue talks with "genuine farm unions".
Putting forward examples of such "genuine farmer unions", the government has been meeting with small factions of farmer unions, who after the meeting seem to agree that the laws will be good for them with the suggested amendments. Significantly, the protesting farmer unions at Singhu and Tikri borders have disowned the unions that gave in to the Centre and said they were never part of the protests.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Kisan) president Pawan Thakur, who met Tomar along with other 'genuine farmer unions' told reporters after the meeting: "The minister explained the laws in detail and we realised the laws are really good. We had some doubts, he cleared them all. ...The minister said he will look into our demands."
And as crowds kept swelling at Delhi's border points, the farmers announced on Tuesday that they would be blocking all of the Delhi-Noida Link Road at the Chilla border point today (Wednesday), which was reopened for traffic just days ago. Now, police have added barricading there in anticipation.
As the government inadvertently once again made it clear that it was not willing to withdraw the laws, farmer leader Jagjeet Dallewal at a press conference from Singhu border on Tuesday evening, vowed: "The government is saying 'we won't repeal these laws', we are saying we will make you do it. The fight has reached a stage where we are determined to win no matter what."
Several other farmer leaders also addressed the press conference and called upon people to pay tributes on December 20 to those farmers who have lost their lives during the ongoing protests.
Farmer leader Rishipal said one farmer has died every day on an average since the protest started in the last week of November.
"A Homage Day (Shraddhanjali Diwas) for all the farmers who lost their lives and became martyrs in the ongoing protest will be organised across the country in villages and tehsil headquarters on 20th December from 11 am to 1 pm," said another farmer leader. On the government's insistence to link "anti-social elements" to the farmers' movement and meet farmer factions separately, another farmer leader Yudhvir Singh said the Centre was trying to divide them.
Many also added that all the Prime Minister had so far on the protests was to call the farmers "misguided", further going on to say that the cancellation of the winter session of Parliament was a sign the Centre was "rattled".