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Farmers Protest: Seventh Round of Talks With Centre Remain Inconclusive, Next Meeting on Jan 8

The seventh round of talks between protesting farmer unions and central government ended inconclusively on Monday as the farmer leaders insisted on the repeal of the three contentious farm laws right from the beginning, even as the three Union Ministers, who were present in the meeting, listed various benefits from the Acts. The next meeting will take place on January 8, farmer leaders said. The two sides took a long break after just about one hour of discussions, during which representatives of protesting farmers had their own food, arranged from langar (community kitchen), as they have been doing for the last few times. However, unlike the last round of talks on December 30, the ministers did not join the union leaders for the langar food and were seen having their own discussion separately during the break, which lasted for almost two hours. The two sides got together again to resume their discussions at around 5.15 pm, but no headway could be made as the talks remained focussed on the farmers’ demand for the repeal of the Acts. Farmer leaders said the government said it needs to consult internally and thereafter it would come back to the unions. After the conclusion of seventh round of meeting with the famer leaders’ today, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told media, “We wanted clause-wise discussion. We had some discussion on MSP also but couldn’t reach any conclusion. Hence, both sides have decided to meet again at 2 pm on January 8. The meeting was cordial and doors haven’t been shut. May be we will reach a solution in next meeting. If farmers didn’t have faith in govt then we wouldn’t hv agreed for talks on January 8.” “Looking at today’s discussion, I hope that we will have a meaningful discussion during our next meeting and we will come to a conclusion,” he added. However, Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Yudhvir Singh said that they want a complete rollback of the three farm laws. “The minister wanted us to discuss the law point-wise. We rejected it and said that there is no point in discussing the laws because we want a complete rollback of the laws. Government intends to take us towards amendments but we will not accept it,” ANI quotes Singh as saying. Echoing the similar sentiments, All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah said that the government is under tremendous pressure. “Government is under tremendous pressure. We all said that this is our demand (repeal of the laws). We don’t want discussion on any other topic except for on repeal of the laws. Protests will not be withdrawn until repeal of laws,” he said. The union leaders will also have their own meeting on Tuesday to decide their next course of action. In Monday’s talks, the two sides did not even discuss another key demand of farmers for a legal guarantee to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) procurement system.

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