Hours after the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the Centre's three farm laws till further notice and constituted an expert committee to resolve the deadlock, protesting farmer unions on Tuesday, 12 January, said the agitation will continue, while reiterating that they won't appear before the new panel.
"We'd issued a press note last night stating that we won't accept any committee formed by the Supreme Court for mediation. We were confident that the Centre will get a committee formed through the Supreme Court to take the burden off their shoulders," Krantikari Kisan Union President Darshan Pal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI at a press conference.
Bharatiya Kisan Union's (R) Balbir Singh Rajewal reportedly said the members of the committee, which has been constituted by the Supreme Court, are "pro-government and had been justifying the laws of the government." He added that the protesting farmers never demanded the formation of a committee from the top court.
The court can repeal the laws suo motu, the farm leaders said at the media briefing.
Earlier, on Tuesday, Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav also called the committee "blatantly partisan".
"Wonder how the Supreme Court could be taken for a ride into appointing such a sarkari committee," he tweeted.
Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait asserted earlier that the protesters won't return home until the laws are repealed.
‘How Can Anyone Trust the Committee’
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also spoke against the constitution of the committee, tweeting, "How can anyone trust a 'committee', whose members have already spoken so loudly in favour of Modi govt's draconian farm laws."
Expressing support for the farmer groups to continue their agitation for the repeal of the laws, the CPI(M) said the members of the committee "mostly support the farm laws".
Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar also cast doubts over the panel, reportedly saying, "Prima facie, I welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court but I doubt the committee formed by the apex court because all its members are supporters of farm laws."
‘SC Order Against Our Wish, Panel Impartial’: MoS Agriculture
On the other hand, Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary told news agency PTI, "The SC order (was) against our wish as we want the laws to continue, but it's 'sarvamanya' (acceptable to all)."
Calling the committee formed "impartial", Choudhary said it'll prepare a report after taking the opinion of all farmers and experts across India.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)