“We welcome the decision that the laws will be repealed but until they are not repealed in Parliament where they were introduced, we will not be content and we will not leave,” says Shamsher, a member of the farmers protest at the Ghazipur border over the Union government's decision on Friday, 19 November, to repeal the three farm laws.
“I think the announcement was made since the polls in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are coming close,” said Mohammed, another farmer at the Ghazipur border.
Around 358 days ago, on 26 November 2020, farmers gathered at the borders of the national capital protesting the contentious laws.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "I apologise to India and with a true and pure heart that maybe... we were not able to convince farmers [over the farm laws]. I'm here to declare that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws... We will complete all the formalities during the Parliament session that begins this month."
Historic Victory After One Year of Struggle
"It is a WIN, after a long one year!" said Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait.
However, in a tweet, the farmer leader also said, "The protest will not be withdrawn immediately, we will wait for the day when the farm laws are repealed in Parliament. Along with the MSP, the government should talk to farmers on other issues too."
Earlier, Tikait had warned that the protest would be intensified with tractors marching into Delhi if the laws were not taken back by 26 November, marking one year of the farmers' protest.
Several farmers' groups, such as Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), welcomed the decision and lauded it as a "historic victory of the one-year-long farmers' struggle in India."
"However, nearly 700 farmers have been martyred in this struggle. The central government's obstinacy is responsible for these avoidable deaths, including the murders at Lakhimpur Kheri," the SKM statement read.
The SKM reiterated that their agitation was not just for the repeal of "the three black laws, but also for a statutory guarantee of remunerative prices for all agricultural produce and for all farmers. This important demand of farmers is still pending."
Swaraj India President and social activist Yogendra Yadav lauded the decision to repeal the laws, saying that it's a victory after a year of struggle.
"Congratulations to every person who played a role in this movement. This victory is a tribute to the martyrs of this movement. Their sacrifices energised this movement. We dedicate this victory to the farmers, labourers and citizens who sacrificed everywhere, including Lakhimpur, Tikri," Kisan Ekta Morcha tweeted.
"Due to anti-farm policies for 75 years, farmers died due to debts. I urge PM Modi to form a farm committee and let it decide crop rates. Farmers' loans should be waived off in a day through an announcement like today's," said Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) national president Bhanu Pratap Singh.
"This (decision) also seems to be an election gimmick, given the manner in which the graph of Modi govt is going down and their image is getting affected. They are working under the pressure of the companies, only to benefit them."Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait
The All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) congratulated the farmers "for this truly historic movement, which has forced the RSS BJP govt led by Modi to announce that the three farm laws will be withdrawn. It is a victory for the peasants and the patriotic people of India."
The farmers' groups have sought written assurance for the continuation of MSP and conventional foodgrain procurement system, as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission. The farmers’ organisations want the mandi system to be protected and also demanded the withdrawal of Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 as they feel that they would not get free electricity due to it.