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We’ll Not Go to Burari: Farmers Reject Shah’s ‘Conditional’ Offer

“It is also seen that the force deployment all over the city is creating an atmosphere of terror,” said AIKSCC.

Updated
India
3 min read
Security personnel use tear gas to stop farmers from crossing the Singhu Border during the “Delhi Chalo” protest march against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, Friday, 27 November.
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Protesting farmers on Sunday, 29 November, rejected Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s offer for a discussion of their grievances against the Centre’s new farm laws, which was contingent to a change in their protest location.

“We’ll not go to Burari (Delhi). Our 30 farmers’ organisations take decisions after consensus is developed. Our leaders will brief the media about it later today,” said Baldev Singh Sirsa, Farmers’ leader at the Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana), according to ANI.

The farmers said that they will stay put “at the border points”, and, according to NDTV, pointed out that the Home Minister’s offer was conditional.

The farmers’ decision came following a meeting on Sunday morning, which took place shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’. PM Modi, in his radio address, had supported the farm laws and claimed that the agricultural reforms has brought new opportunities to farmers, and they have bestowed new rights upon them.

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What Are the Farmers’ Saying?

In a statement released by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), it was pointed out that “farmer bodies decry government’s attempt for talks through Home Ministry and Intelligence Agencies” and call for talks at the higher political level. Further, farmer bodies, according to the statement, will continue to rally in large numbers and have appealed “for support by all pro farmer, anti corporate forces”.

Further, according to the AIKSCC statement, an appeal has been made for all-India mobilisations to be intensified and protests to begin in states from 1 December.

“Farmers are united and speak in unison in their demand that the central government repeal the 3 anti-farmer, anti-people laws that were enacted without consultation to serve corporate interests, and withdraw Electricity Bill 2020. Farmers who have marched peacefully and resolutely to Delhi are determined in securing their demands. Farmers of Punjab and Haryana are rallying in greater numbers at Singhu and Tikri borders. From UP and Uttarakhand their moving to Delhi has begun. (Sic)”   
AIKSCC   

Among other points, the AIKSCC statement also observes: “Instead of responding to the main demands of repealing of 3 black laws and the withdrawal of the Electricity Bill 2020, the government is doing its best to move the debate to where the farmers should camp.”

“It is also seen that the force deployment all over the city is creating an atmosphere of terror and apprehension amongst the protesting farmers and even the people of Delhi.”
AIKSCC

“Barricades in the path of the farmers have not been removed even now,” added the statement.

What Was Home Minister Amit Shah’s Offer?

As farmers from Punjab and Haryana camp at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in Delhi’s Burari to protest against the Centre’s farm laws, Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, 27 November, said, “The government is ready to deliberate on every problem and demand of the farmers.”

He added, “If farmers’ unions want to hold discussions before 3 December, then I want to assure you all that as soon as you shift your protest to the designated place, the government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day.”

Background

Reacting to Amit Shah’s proposal, Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Punjab President, Jagjit Singh had earlier, as well, told ANI that the Home Minister should have agreed to a meeting without any conditions, adding that the farmers’ will now decide on their response.

“Amit Shah ji has called for early meeting on a condition, it’s not good. He should’ve offered talks with open heart without condition. We’ll hold meeting to decide our response.” Jagjit Singh, Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Punjab President   
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The protesting farmers had earlier told the media that the protests will continue till the new laws brought in by the Modi government are not withdrawn by the Centre.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana overcame tear gas, water cannons and police barricades on a second day on Friday, 26 November, to enter Delhi via the Tikri border.

Meanwhile, amid images of tear-gas shelling, stone-pelting and police lathi-charge, there were some images from the ongoing farmers' protest that rekindle hope.

Several social media users shared images of protesting farmers feeding and offering water to policemen, who till Friday morning were trying to stop them from entering Delhi before the Centre allowed them to cross the border.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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