New Delhi, December 19
Farmer unions protesting against the three agriculture laws on Saturday said they will decide their next course of action in the next two-three days, after the Supreme Court earlier this week pointed out it was thinking of setting up an “impartial and independent” panel of agriculture experts and peasants’ unions to resolve the deadlock.
Farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said discussions among unions are currently underway to decide their strategy, adding that they are also seeking legal opinion on the matter.
“Our meetings are being held for the next course of action. We hope that in the next two-three days, we will have clarity on whether we should be part of a committee as suggested by the court,” Kakka told PTI.
Another leader Balbir Singh said farmers will not call off their protests until their demands are met.
“We are ready for a long haul. We are here for our rights. We are in the process to decide our stand following the court’s order,” he also said.
Thousands of farmers have been staying put at several Delhi border points for the last 23 days, demanding a repeal of the new agri laws.
Meanwhile, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) Saturday claimed that 33 farmers participating in the ongoing protests have so far died since November 26 due to accidents, illness and cold weather conditions.
According to AIKS, ‘Homage Day’ will be observed in different parts of the country on Sunday to pay tributes to those farmers who lost their lives.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had acknowledged the right of farmers to non-violent protests and mooted the idea of putting on hold the contentious farm laws to enable negotiations with the agitating farmers, which was opposed by the Centre, which said the agriculturists would not come forward for the talks then.
The apex court, which made it clear that the issue of farmers’ protest and the right of others to move freely would be dealt on priority at the moment and not the validity of the laws, also said it was thinking of setting up an “impartial and independent” panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the impasse.
The top court said it was of the view that the farmers’ right to protest should not infringe the fundamental right of others to move freely and in getting essential food and other supplies as right to protest cannot mean blocking the entire city.
The apex court, which said it was worried with the way things are going on, was told by both the Centre and one of the farmers’ unions that the negotiations are not happening at the moment.
It also said the farmers cannot keep on protesting without talking to the government. — PTI