Protesting Farmers Must Participate in SC Formed Panel: MoS Agri

This comes after the apex court stayed the three controversial farm laws and formed a committee to end the impasse

2 min read
Farmers stage a protest at the Singhu border during their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s new farm laws, in New Delhi. Image used for representational purposes. 

The government wants protesting farmers to take part in the proceedings of the Supreme Court appointed panel on the three farm laws, said Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary on Wednesday, 13 January.

The apex court on Tuesday stayed the controversial farm laws and formed a four-member committee to take over negotiations with the farmers and "solve the problem".

The last eight rounds of negotiations between the government and the unions have reached an impasse, and the ninth talk is scheduled on 15 January. The farmers are willing to attend the talks, but are firm on their demands for a complete repeal of the laws and a guarantee of MSP.

The minister said that the decision of the top court was against government’s wishes and the law was in interest of the farmers. "We did not want the laws that were passed in the Parliament to be stayed. In spite of this, the Supreme Court order is 'sarva-manya' (acceptable to all). We welcome the Supreme Court order," he told PTI.

However, the farmer unions – who have been protesting at Delhi’s borders since November last year to repeal the law and to guarantee MSP – have said they will not appear before the “pro-government” committee. The members of the panel – Ashok Gulati, BS Mann, Anil Ghanwat and PK Joshi – have spoken or written in support of the three farm laws in the past.

‘Neutral Panel’

Choudhary, on the other hand, finds the SC to have set up a "neutral panel" which will take inputs from farmers and experts before submitting a report. "We have to accept the court's decision. These members were in high posts in the previous Congress government. I believe there is no politics in it. It is a neutral committee," he told PTI, adding that everyone must accept whatever decision will be taken by the court, based on the report submitted by the panel.

Further pointing out that the farmer union leader Rakesh Tikait was initially in support of the laws, the minister said, "When the laws were passed, he had congratulated the Prime Minister, saying that Mahendra Tikait’s soul must be in peace after 27 years as his dreams are being fulfilled through these laws."

(With inputs from PTI.)

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