Protesting farmers will carry out a tractor parade in the national capital without causing any disruption to the Republic Day parade, Swaraj India's Yogendra Yadav announced on Sunday. They have been protesting near Delhi since November 26, 2020, demanding scrapping of the three new farm laws, which have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
- "Farmers will carry out tractor parade with national flag on Outer Ring Road of Delhi on Republic Day. No disruption will be caused to the official Republic Day ceremony," Yogendra Yadav said.
- Meanwhile, Krantikari Kisan Union chief Darshan Pal alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun registering cases against those who are a part of the farmers' movement or those who have lent their support to it. "All farmer unions condemn this. We will fight this in every way possible," Pal said.
- On the other hand, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said farmers are prepared to protest against the new farm laws till May 2024. Tikait said this was an ideological revolution of farmers started from Delhi and will not fall. "Farmers from villages do not want us to come back until the three farm bills are taken back. The government is adamant on its stance of not withdrawing the bills and this agitation will continue for long," Tikait said.
- Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said he was looking forward to discuss the laws clause-wise in the January 19 meeting. "We had sent a proposal to farmer unions in which we agreed to address their apprehensions regarding mandis, traders' registration and others. Govt also agreed to discuss laws on stubble burning and electricity but unions only want repeal of the laws. Most of the farmers & experts are in favour of farm laws. After Supreme Court's order, the laws can't be implemented. Now we expect that farmers discuss the laws clause-wise on Jan 19 & tell govt what they want other than the repeal of the laws," he said.
- The Supreme Court-appointed committee on the three farm laws is scheduled to hold its first meeting on January 19. The top court had stayed the implementation of the three laws till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse.
- So far, the government has held nine rounds of formal talks with 41 farmer unions but has failed to break the logjam as the latter have stuck to their main demand of a complete repeal of the three Acts.
- In the last meeting, the Centre had suggested that the unions constitute their own informal group to prepare a concrete proposal on the three farm laws for further discussion at their next meeting on January 19 to end the long-running protest at various Delhi borders.
- The top court would also hear on Monday the plea of the central government, filed though the Delhi Police, seeking an injunction against a proposed tractor march or any other kind of protest by farmers that may disrupt the Republic Day celebrations on January 26.