A section of the leaders of protesting farmers’ organisations are getting informal requests from officials and functionaries of the Centre for calling off the agitations after the crucial general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) scheduled on Saturday.
The leaders who got calls from the Government briefed the coordination committee of the SKM on Wednesday about the “offers” they received from the Centre which included withdrawing cases against farmers and including representatives of the SKM in the proposed committee to study the issues in fixing minimum support prices.
SKM had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently urging him to consider pending demands such as a law to ensure MSP, compensation to the 689 farmers who died during the one and a half-year-long agitation and withdrawing cases against farmers all over the country for participating in the protests. The majority view in the SKM is that the protests can be withdrawn immediately if the Centre gives them an assurance on the pending demands.
SKM, meanwhile, condemned the “continued attempts” by the Narendra Modi Government to divide protesting farmers without re-initiating formal dialogue and not responding formally to the letter sent by the SKM. “The Government of India continues to insult the huge sacrifices being made by protesting farmers by saying that it has no record of deaths of any protesting farmers. SKM condemns Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar giving a written reply in Parliament that the government has no information about deaths in the farmers movement and therefore, question of financial assistance does not arise! SKM reiterates its demand for compensation and rehabilitation of the kin of more than 689 martyrs in the ongoing agitation,” the SKM said.
The SKM said reports on protests being concluded and people vacating the protest sites is not correct and there is no fissure amongst the unions of SKM. “The BJP Government has been incessantly peddling lies to cover up for their loss of face, having suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the united Kisan movement,” it said.
SKM leader Hannan Mollah said the Centre is seeking to divide the farmers by engaging in informal talks with few organisations without formally discussing with the SKM. He urged the Prime Minister and the BJP to refrain from politicking; discuss the issue of providing legal guarantee for remunerative MSP, withdrawal of amendments to Electricity Act, withdrawal of cases on farmers and compensation for the families of the martyrs of the struggle. “There are about 48,000 cases against farmers in various States. We need an assurance from the Centre that they will direct the States to withdraw these cases,” he said.