SC stay on farm laws: Farmers to continue protest

NEW DELHI, 12 Jan: Farmer leaders on Tuesday said they welcome the Supreme Court order staying the implementation of the three farm laws till further orders, but they will continue to protest till the contentious legislations are repealed and expressed doubts over the neutrality of the panel formed by the top court to end the impasse, a view shared by the Congress.

The agitating farmers also made it clear that they will not participate in the SC-ordered committee process.

Reacting to the SC ruling, the government said the order to stay the implementation of three new farm laws is against its wish but the direction of the apex court is ‘sarva-manya’ (acceptable to all) and welcomed the composition of an “impartial” committee to resolve the deadlock.

In an interview to PTI, Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary made these remarks and also said he is confident that whatever decision is taken by the court, that will be “taken to ensure that the laws are kept the way they are.”

While opposition parties like NCP and DMK welcomed the SC order and hoped that it will help in resolving the deadlock, the Congress leaders expressed apprehensions over the members chosen for the committee, saying they are known for their support to the three Acts and the agitating farmers.

In a statement, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said,”it is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the 3 Acts and have actively advocated for the same.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also raised questions over the formation of the committee, asking can justice be expected from people who have given written support to the “anti-agriculture laws”. “This struggle will continue till anti-farmer-worker laws are repealed. Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan,” he tweeted.

While staying the laws, the top court set up a four-member committee to resolve the impasse between the Central government and the farmers’ unions protesting at Delhi’s borders over the legislations.

The four members of the committee are Bhupinder Singh Mann, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union; Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkeri Sangthana, Maharashtra; Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati.

Addressing a press conference at Singhu (Delhi-Haryana) border, farmer leaders claimed the members of the committee formed by the top court are “pro-government”.

“The members of the SC-appointed committee are not dependable as they have been writing on how agri laws are pro-farmer. We will continue our agitation,” farmer leader Balbeer Singh Rajewal told the press conference.

“We are against the committee on principle. It is the government’s way to distract attention from the protest,” he said.

The farmer leaders also said the Supreme Court can repeal the farm laws suo motu.

“We welcome the court’s order to stay the implementation of the farm laws, but we want a complete repeal of these laws, which is our main demand,” said Abhimanyu Kohar, a senior leader of the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of around 40 protesting farmer unions. (PTI)