Ready For Talks, Waiting For Government To Come With Open Mind: Farmers

Farmers protesting the centre’s new agricultural reforms on Wednesday said they are ready to hold talks but are waiting for the government to hold discussions with an open mind and present concrete proposals that are acceptable. “Farmer unions are ready to talk to the government. We are waiting for the government to come to the table with an open mind. We urge the government to not repeat amendments we have rejected but come up with concrete proposals in writing,” Yogendra Yadav, the leader of Swaraj India, one of the protesting groups, said. Shiv Kumar Kakka, a leader of another protesting group, said, “We have already told Home Minister Amit Shah that protesting farmers will not accept amendments. Central government should create a conducive environment for talks. It should abandon its stubbornness and accept the demands of farmers,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been urging the farmers to engage in further talks to end a deadlock which has led to thousands camping on the outskirts of New Delhi for more than three weeks. The protests have blocked roads connecting the national capital with neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, hitting public transport and the supply of fruit and vegetables. Leaders of the protests had called on their supporters to skip one meal on Wednesday, in solidarity with the demonstrations against new laws, approved by parliament in September without much debate, which farmers fear could pave the way for ending state procurement of crops, while helping big retail buyers. PM Modi has defended the laws saying these would help increase farmers income as it would encourage more private investments in cold-stores, procurement and distribution. More than 30 protesters have died in recent weeks, mainly due to the cold as they were sleeping in the open with temperatures falling to 4 degree Celsius, farmer leaders said. Farmers leaders also called upon their supporters to boycott PM Modi’s monthly radio address on Sunday. “People should bang their utensils at home on Sunday when Modi speaks up on the radio,” Jagjit Singh Dallewal, president of the Bharti Kisan Union, said.

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