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Decision to repeal farm laws: Protesting farmers’ leaders to continue stir at this stage

These leaders are almost unanimous in saying that they will not call off their agitation, continuing for over a year, till
these laws are finally junked by completing the constitutional process of taking these to Parliament.

Syed Hashim Najmi | New Delhi |

Leaders of farmers protesting against three controversial agriculture-related laws have reacted cautiously to today’s announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to repeal these pieces of legislation. These leaders are almost unanimous in saying that they will not call off their agitation, continuing for over a year, till these laws are finally junked by completing the constitutional process of taking these to Parliament.

Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Convener of the Bhartiya Kisan Union’s (BKU’s) All-India Coordination Committee, said from his village, near Ludhiana, “The Prime Minister’s decision to repeal the ‘black laws’ is a victory for farmers. The protesting farmers suffered a lot, including the loss of human lives, but ultimately they have emerged victorious. However, the farmers’ morcha will continue till the controversial laws are taken to Parliament to get these repealed with the President of India putting his signature on the final document.”

Another Punjab-based BKU leader, Sukh Darshan Singh, called it a “primary victory” of the farmers’ movement.

He said, “The Prime Minister’s announcement is the first step towards our final victory. We will continue our protest till the controversial laws are junked by Parliament.  We want the government’s representatives to have a dialogue with the protesting leaders in this regard. We will hold a meeting of farmers’ leaders to decide our final line of action now that the government has bowed before the farmers.”

BKU national President Rakesh Tikait said in a tweet in Hindi, “The protest will not be withdrawn immediately; we will wait for the day when the farm laws are repealed in Parliament. Along with MSP (minimum support price), the government should talk to farmers on other issues too.”

Prof SS Johl, a well-known agriculture economist based in Ludhiana and Chancellor of the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, expressed the view that “the laws were good, but the Central government has decided to repeal these laws under pressure from the farmer’s lobby and other factors. Now it is the turn of the farmers’ leaders to come out with what should be done for protecting the interests of the farming sector. In any case, the existing laws related to agriculture need to be reformed.”