Saturday, 23 January, 2021


Farmers Burn Copies Of Agriculture Laws On Lohri In Punjab

Farmers Burn Copies Of Agriculture Laws On Lohri In Punjab Farmers also shouted slogans against the BJP-led Centre
Bennie Garza | 13 January, 2021, 14:58

Bharatiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann, former Director for South Asia at the International Food Policy Research Institute Pramod Joshi, agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and Maharashtra Shetkari Sangathna President Anil Ghanwat, were appointed as members of the committee.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed a committee on the three farm laws and stayed their implementation as it had indicated a day earlier. The bench was headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde and comprising of Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. Yesterday (Monday), he said he will get back today with the views of farmers unions.

The top court has sought the cooperation of the protesting farmers and made it clear that no power can prevent it from setting up a panel to resolve the impasse over the controversial farm laws. Eight rounds of talks have remained deadlocked and the ninth round is due to be held on January 15.

"We welcome the court's order to stay the implementation of the farm laws, but we want a complete repeal of these laws, which is our main demand", said Abhimanyu Kohar, a senior leader of the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of around 40 protesting farmer unions.

The two months, the court said, will start from the date of its first sitting and the first sitting has to take place within 10 days from Tuesday's order.

"Laudably, the farmers have so far carried on the agitation peacefully and without any untoward incident", the bench said.

Brushing aside Centre's opposition to stay the implementation of the law, the court remarked: "This court can not be said to be completely powerless to grant stay of any executive action under a statutory enactment".

The court asserted it had the power to suspend the legislation, but the stay must not be for an empty goal.

In the face of this stalemate, the top court had agreed to hear a batch of petitions challenging the laws.

On Dec. 30, the two sides reached a consensus on two issues - that the government would continue its subsidy of electricity for irrigating farms, and that farmers would not be punished for burning crop residues, a cause of air pollution.

Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, claimed that "Khalistanis" have infiltrated the protest and he will file an affidavit along with the necessary inputs of the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

"The committee will go to them, if they do not come to us", he said, when asked about protesting farmers' unwillingness to talk to the committee.

Speaking to media, Jaspreet Singh, a farmer leader said at the Singhu border, "We are demanding for the repeal of these farm laws".

"We are against the committee in principle. It is the government's way to distract attention from the protest".

Critics say the laws were created to help multinational companies and would lead to the collapse of government-controlled markets and leave farmers at the mercy of big business houses.

Darshan Pal, chief of Krantikari Kisan Union said they will not appear before any committee and suggested that the Parliament should discuss and resolve the matter. The protesters said the government "is trying to misguide the court on this too".

Farmers shout slogans as they leave Amritsar for Delhi on January 12 to participate in a continuing demonstration against the central government's recent agricultural reforms.

"It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the three Acts and have actively advocated for the same", a statement issued by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said any order of the Supreme Court has to be complied with by all the concerned parties.

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