After 378 Days, Farmers Call Off Protest, to Vacate Delhi Borders on 11 December
Celebrations have begun across protest sites — Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur, and Shahjahanpur, among others.
After 378 days, the farmers protest has finally been called off – a day after the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) accepted the revised proposal of the Centre.
On 9 December afternoon, SKM held a meeting at the Singhu border, which has been a major protest site since November 2020, and it was unanimously decided that the farmers will now return home.
Dr Ashish Mittal, general secretary of the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, told The Quint, "We received a signed copy of the revised proposal from the government today. It has been decided that on 11 December, Saturday, the morcha will be lifted, and the farmers will pack up and return home."
He also said that the SKM members will meet in Delhi on 15 January to review the situation.
Late afternoon, the SKM stated that the Government of India, through the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, has sent a formal letter to SKM agreeing to several pending demands of the protesting farmers.
"The SKM formally announces the lifting of the morchas at Delhi borders, on national highways, and various other locations in response. The current agitation stands suspended. The battle has been won and the war to ensure farmers' rights, especially to secure MSP as a legal entitlement for all farmers, will continue," said SKM.
Around 4 pm, the SKM released a statement on the decision to end protests, and said, "Considering that the nation is mourning the demise of CDS Bipin Rawat and his associates, the SKM has decided to postpone all celebrations with regard to the victory of farmers, and celebratory rallies will be taken out day after tomorrow, on 11 December, when farmers leave the morcha sites together in victory rallies."
Minor celebrations began across protest sites – Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur, and Shahjahanpur, among others. "This is a major victory," said Mittal.
A wave of joy spread across the protest sites, with farmers preparing halwa, distributing sweets, and songs of struggle and victory are reverberating in the air.
On 7 December, the Centre shared a proposal with SKM, and the latter sought "further clarifications on a few points." The major issue with the proposal – withdrawal of police charges against farmers – was resolved in the revised draft that the Centre sent to the SKM on 8 December.
The protests against the three farm laws began on 26 November 2020, and reached Delhi's borders a day later. A protest site came up at the Singhu border, and within few days, the sites increased in numbers.
The SKM said that it has dedicated "this fabulous and historic victory of the struggle to around 715 martyrs of the movement, including those in Lakhimpur Kheri." On 19 November 2021, in a 9 am address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi repealed the three farm laws.
What Has the Centre Promised the Farmers?
A press release issued by the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) delineates the agreement between the Centre and the farmers as follows:
1. The 3 farm laws have been withdrawn.
2. The government shall set up a committee to address the demand in MSP in which SKM representatives shall also be members.
3. The government letter states that all cases registered during the duration of this movement in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Union Territories including Delhi and by central government departments shall be withdrawn with immediate effect.
4. The states shall provide compensation to families of all those who were martyred in this movement.
5. The Electricity Bill shall discussed in Parliament only after discussing it with all stakeholders, including the SKM.
6. Criminal liability on farmers shall be removed from the provisions in sections 14 and 15 of the Act relating to stubble burning.
In its statement, the SKM thanked "local communities at morcha sites for their patience and support throughout the long agitation," and apologised to them for inconveniences caused to them. It also thanked "trade unions, women's organisations and youth/student outfits who struggled along with farmers in this agitation, lawyers who extended legal aid and solidarity, doctors who set up medical camps, religious bodies that set up langars, various progressive organisations that stood in support, numerous artists who were there constantly with the movement... highway dhaba owners and people who gave space for the Kisan Andolan to run its organisational meetings, NRIs and international farmers' organisations and others who took up solidarity actions in their own locations, hundreds of volunteers who participated by giving their sewa and many others including well wishers."
'This Is a Settlement': Rakesh Tikait
"This is a settlement. On whatever conditions a settlement is achieved, that is victory," said farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, when asked if the government had conceded to all the demands of the farmers.
"I will not fight in the election," Tikait said, when asked about the upcoming Uttar Pradesh and Punjab Assembly elections.
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