On November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise announcement - he stated that the three controversial farm laws that were introduced last year are to be repealed in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.
While protesting farmers have rejoiced the government's decision to repeal the farm laws, farmers union groups remain undithered in their protest - a tractor march has already been planned for the opening session of the parliament on November 29.
With the government deciding to repeal the farm laws, and the prime minister urging farmers to go back to their homes, why are farmers still continuing their protests?
Protests To Go On Till Laws Are Formally Repealed
While the only confirmation on the repealing of the three farm laws have come as a verbal announcement from Modi, farmers union groups said they would like to see through till the laws are formally scrapped in the upcoming parliament session before stopping their protests.
Balwant Singh, national general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Punjab) told BOOM, "The Singhu border protest will continue until written orders repealing the farm laws are passed by the Prime Minister and President of India. Until then there is no intention of going back."
Along with the repealing of the farm laws, farmers unions have also demanded a written guarantee by the government on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) scheme, a price floor system that assures a minimum price for crops with high yield through procurement by the government
Dr. Balwant Singh, who has been protesting at the Ghazipur protest site demanded a guarantee on MSP as per the Swaminathan Commission report. "Farmers won't leave the protest site unless the order of repealing the farm laws is passed in the parliament, and MSP is guaranteed as per the Swaminathan report," he told the media.
Withdrawal Of Cases
Following Modi's announcement, BKU (Uttar Pradesh) leader Rakesh Tikait told the media that farmers union groups will also demand compensation for the farmers who lost their lives during the year-long protests, and the withdrawal of cases against farmers who have taken part in protests.
Speaking ahead of a meeting by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Sunday, Tikait told the media, "Farm laws have been repealed. The agenda will be to discuss other issues including the withdrawal of cases against us. We will discuss the issue of farmers who died during the protest. I will go to Lucknow today for the Mahapanchayat tomorrow."
It Was Never Just About The Farm Laws
Kavitha Kuruganti, who represents a network of organisations called Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture-Kisan Swaraj told BOOM that farmers have been protesting long before the farm bills were tabled in last year's parliament session, and that the repealing of the laws themselves will not solve the problem.
"Remember some of the major farmers' protests that took place in 2017 and 2018 in various parts of the country. The farm laws went in the complete opposite direction from the demands made by farmers. Repealing these farm laws just brings us back to June 4, 2020," she said.
Prior to the introduction of farm laws, India had seen major protests by farmers, especially in states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, demanding waiver of loans and state support in the event of crop failures due to natural disasters like droughts and floods.
Furthermore, farmers unions have also added a whole list of other demands as the protests progressed, which are yet to be addressed by the government. These include reduction of diesel cost for agriculture by 50%, nullifying the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020, release of farmers in Punjab arrested for paddy stubble burning and state-wise decentralisation in farming practices.
Updated On: 2021-11-23T16:07:15+05:30