Protesting farmers refused to call off their agitation and stayed put at Delhi-UP border on Tuesday even after the Centre accepted seven of the 11 demands.
Following a meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), which is leading the protests, the Centre decided to accept some of the demands but remained non-committal on crucial loan waiver and higher MSP.
The main demands of the agitating farmers include implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, removing ban on the use of tractors which are more than 10 years old, clearing out pending payments of sugarcane purchase, increased price of sugar supplied and minimum support prices.
The BKU leaders said that their meeting with Singh was “satisfactory”. But it appeared that the 10-day long protest will continue till all the demands are met.
BKU General Secretary Yudhvir Singh led a 15-member delegation to meet the Home Minister at his official residence here, which was also attended by Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
Yudhvir Singh said their seven demands were accepted.
“We had a discussion on 11 points. Govt agreed on 7 points but didn’t agree on 4 points yet. They said they will have to think about those meetings in a further meeting after which they will tell us, as it is a financial matter,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
“Government didn’t clear its stand on the main issue of the farmers – C2+50. That is why the farmers are unsatisfied. It didn’t clear its stand even on the other main issue of loan waiver. They said they will discuss it in detail,” he added.
The farmers are demanding that the fixation of MSP (Minimum Support Price) should be based on C2 input factor as per the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
The government said that it had taken one step forward by announcing MSP based on ‘A2+FL’ formula, Singh added.
Discussions were held to see how the demands can be met, said Shekhawat, who later proceeded to the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border to meet the protesting farmers who had clashed with police after they were denied entry to Delhi.
Talking to the media here, the farmer leader said that the government had admitted to “flaws” that created problems for farmers while selling their produce in markets and availing benefits under farm-related schemes.
“We held discussions with representatives of BKU last night. Another meeting was held at Home Minister’s house this morning. In the end, we reached agreements on some issues and they assured us that the agitation will be called off,” Shekhawat was quoted by ANI.
Speaking on the issue, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that it is under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government that all issues of farmers have been solved.
“For the first time since independence, farmers came into the agenda of a government which is evident from the work done by BJP govt in the past 4.5 years for farmers. BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi solved all the issues of the farmers,” he said.
Lathicharge on farmers
The protest by thousands of farmers turned violent on the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border on Tuesday as they tried to break through barricades or run them over with tractors to enter the national capital, forcing police to use water cannons and tear gas to disperse them.
According to reports, police had to resort to lathicharge on protesting farmers to control the situation.
Seven policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police, were injured on Tuesday during the protest by farmers on Delhi-UP border, Delhi Police said on Tuesday.
Police said a section of crowd suddenly turned violent as police tried to persuade the protesters, who were participating in the Bharatiya Kisan Union march, not to break the barricades.
Police said they used 20 tear gas shells and water cannons to manage the crowd, adding it was “minimum required force”. As many as 3,000 police personnel were deployed to ensure that the farmers are not able to enter Delhi.
Yudhvir Singh criticised the police action calling it “undemocratic”.
“It is undemocratic. It is unprecedented. The government should not have lathicharged the farmers. Everyone has the right to express their views,” Singh said.
(With inputs from agencies.)