Bhupinder Singh Mann of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has recused himself from the four-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court to resolve the impasse over farm laws. Mann, a former Rajya Sabha MP, is the president of National President of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Chairman of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee. The BKU is among the organisations that have taken part in protests against the farm laws.
"While I am thankful to Supreme Court for nominating me in the 4 members committee to start dialogue with Kisan Unions on the three laws brought in by the Central government. As a farmer myself and a Union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country, I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab," he said in a statement.
Earlier on January 12, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of farm laws -- the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, till further orders and decided to set up a 4-member committee to resolve the impasse. The members include Bhupinder Singh Mann; Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkeri Sangthana, Maharashtra; Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati.
S. Bhupinder Singh Mann Ex MP and National President of BKU and Chairman of All India Kisan Coordination Committee has recused himself from the 4 member committee constituted by Hon'ble Supreme Court pic.twitter.com/pHZhKXcVdT— Bhartiya Kisan Union (@BKU_KisanUnion) January 14, 2021
The panel has been given the task of attempting to find an amicable solution between the Centre and farmers who have been protesting since November against the laws.
Notably, Mann has worked as a farmers' leader for more than five decades. He is one of the founding members of the Farmer Friends Association. He also played a crucial role in setting up the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC).
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are currently staying put at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against the laws. They have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture. The government argues that the three farm laws will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country. Today is the 50th day of their agitation.