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As farmers intensify protest, Shah mulls issues with Tomar again
New Delhi, December 14, 2020
Even as farmers went on a day-long hunger strike to press for repeal of the three new Central farm laws, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar discussed their demands and related issues for the second consecutive day here on Monday.
As the farmers' agitation continued for the 19th day, both Ministers discussed ways to resolve their demands to end the protest as soon as possible, since it is impacting the supply chains to the city and other sectors.
In the meeting at Shah's 6 Krishna Menon Marg residence, sources said, both charted out a detailed plan to clear the deadlock after approaching the farmers and their leaders across the country who are interested in resolving the issues in a positive manner with the intention to benefit farmers on the ground.
In the backdrop of inputs from official agencies that the farmers are allegedly not coming forward for more talks due to influence from certain political quarters, it is learnt that the Union government is trying to approach farmer unions mainly from Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu which hold opinions different from the 32 unions sprearheading the agitation since November 26 on Delhi's interstate borders.
As a group of Haryana farmers last week submitted a letter to the government to accept its proposal to undertake necessary amendments in the three central farm laws enacted in September, efforts are on to rope in some other groups too which are ready to toe a similar line, the source told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
In the nearly 40-minute meeting, both the leaders reportedly also discussed the idea to approach again the 32 farmer representatives who have so far held five rounds of talks with the Centre, urging them to choose the path of dialogue and discussion and end their protest amid the pandemic crisis.
On Sunday, Shah also held discussions on the farmers' issues with Punjab BJP leaders in the presence of Tomar at his residence. Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Som Parkash was also present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the farmer leaders on Monday started a day-long 'hunger strike' at different places and held protest demonstrations outside District Collectorates/Deputy Commissioners' offices in different states in the absence of any positive signal from the Centre to roll back the three farm laws.
Thousands of farmers are protesting on Delhi's borders under the open skies to seek the withdrawal of The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. They call these laws 'black law', 'draconian' and 'anti-farmer'.
The government is instead ready to undertake amendments to the laws, reiterating that they are for the benefit of farmers.