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Farmer leaders to decide on further talks with govt on Tuesday

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Rakesh Tikait
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We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn, says Rakesh Tikait

The Seventh round of meeting between Central Government and farmers' representatives concluded indecisive at Vigyan Bhawan. Next round of talks to be held at 2 pm on January 8, ANI reported.

It is learnt that the farm leaders will hold a meeting on Tuesday wherein a decision will be taken on engaging in further talks with the government.

The protest has completed 40 days and the farmers have declared that they will not retreat unless the laws are repealed.

"Discussion took place on our demands - repeal of the three laws and MSP... Kannon wapasi nahi, to ghar wapasi nahi (We will not go home until the laws are withdrawn)," reacted Rakesh Tikait, Spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union after the meeting.

The meeting failed to resolve the stalemate as the government refused to repeal the laws. Instead, the minister guaranteed to appoint a panel to examine the validity of the law, which the farm leaders rejected.

After the discussion, the farmer leaders left Vigyan Bhawan to Singhu border in two buses with police escort.

As the protest is garnering more and more acceptance across the country, Punjab's BJP leaders are expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the death of another protesting farmer was reported on Monday at Singhu border taking the toll of the total deaths during the protest to 60.

Earlier on Monday, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash along with government officials and representatives of farmers observed a two-minute silence for farmers who died during the ongoing protest.

"We hope there is a breakthrough in this meeting in the new year," said a farmer leader who arrived at Vigyan Bhawan for talks according to an ANI tweet.

The agitating farmers have already announced they will take out a tractor parade towards Delhi on January 26, the Republic Day, besides a series of programmes in a bid to intensify their protest.

Ahead of joining the talks, Harinder Singh Lokhowal, a prominent farmer leader from Punjab and general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) criticised the action taken by state governments of Haryana and Punjab to stop the farmers from approaching Delhi as the Haryana Police fired tear gas at them in Rewari district.

Last month, the Supreme Court had ordered that a special committee be formed, insisting that the Centre's negotiations have failed. "Your negotiation will again fail as they (the farmers) won't agree," said the bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

The sixth round of meeting ended after over five hours with the Centre claiming that the two sides had reached a consensus on two out of four key issues.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at the borders of the national capital demanding the repeal of the three farm laws, among other demands.

Protests are continuing in Punjab and other states despite harsh climatic conditions.

(With inputs from various agencies)

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