Violence fallout: Centre toughens stand, wants unions to accept offer to resume dialogue

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January 28, 2021 11:44 AM

In the tenth round of meeting, the Centre had offered to put the three farm laws on hold for 1.5 years and form a committee to look into the issues raised by the protesting farmers. However, the unions rejected that offer, saying they will not settle with anything less than the repeal of the laws.

Agriculture minister Narendra Singh TomarAgriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar

Farmers protest, Farm laws: Days after a tractor rally in the national capital was marred by violence, the Centre appears to have taken a tough stand vis-a-vis its offer to the farmer unions on suspending farm laws for 1.5 years. Now, the government wants the farmer unions to accept its offer first to resume dialogue on any other issues like MSP.

The Indian Express reports that the government now wants to resume the talks only after seeing that its offers are accepted. Speaking to IE, an official said that the Centre has now got the upper hand on the negotiation table now. “We are pointing out that farm union leaders who have been engaging in talks with us have lost control over the agitators, and they should use this opportunity as a graceful exit and agree to the offers the government has made,” the official was quoted as saying by IE.

The officials in the government are of the view that the farmer leaders have lost “moral authority” after violent protests in the national capital on Republic Day. They say that the government has already given the farmer leaders a better proposal, but they did not accept it. “They lost a good opportunity. They have lost moral authority. Now, we have to see whether they accept that offer or they come with a counter proposal,” an official told IE.

In the tenth round of meeting, the Centre had offered to put the three farm laws on hold for 1.5 years and form a committee to look into the issues raised by the protesting farmers. However, the unions rejected that offer, saying they will not settle with anything less than the repeal of the laws. The Centre responded that it was the best that it could offer and now the unions had to decide.

The farmers refused to accept the offer and went ahead with their planned tractor rally on Republic Day. However, what was until now a peaceful protest turned violent with a section of protestors resorting to violence, injuring about 400 personnel, and vandalising scores of police and private vehicles. The Delhi Police have so far booked 30 farm leaders including Rakesh Tikait, Darshan Pal and Yogendra Yadav for breaching the agreements and inciting the protestors.

Following the incident, two key unions — Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) — pulled out of the protests. The Centre now hopes that many more unions pull out of the protests that have maximum support from Punjab and Haryana.

On Republic Day, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said that the Centre had offered the best deal and he was hopeful that the farmer unions would accept that.

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