New Delhi: The eight round of talks between the protesting farmers and the government on Friday ended without any outcome as the government ruled out the repeal of the laws. The next meeting will be held on January 15.
Sticking to their key demand of the repeal of three farm laws to end their protest, farmer leaders told the government their "ghar wapsi" from protest sites on Delhi borders can happen only after "law wapsi" but the Centre insisted talks must be limited to contentious clauses
The government while asserting that these reforms have been welcomed by a large section of farmers in various states, it also asked the unions to think about the interests of the entire country.
"Ideally, the Centre should not interfere in agriculture matters as various Supreme Court orders have declared farming as a state subject. It seems you (the government) do not want to resolve the issue as talks have been happening for so many days. In that case, please give us a clear answer and we will go. Why to waste everyone's time," a farmer leader said at the meeting,reports PTI.
Around one hour after the meeting, the three ministers stepped out of the discussion hall for their own internal consultations, after union leaders decided to observe silence while holding out papers with slogans including 'Jeetenge ya Marenge' (We will either win or die).
The union leaders also refused to take a lunch break and stayed put in the meeting room, reports PTI
According to sources, not much discussions could take place at the meeting. The next date for discussion was decided after keeping in mind a scheduled hearing of Supreme Court on January 11.
The government sources expects that the apex court may look into the legality of the three laws, besides other issues related to farmers' protests, reports PTI
After the meeting,Agriculture Minister Narendra Sigh Tomar said that "discussion on the laws was taken up but no decision could be made" reports ANI.
He also said that if farmer unions give an option other than repealing the farm laws,, the government will consider it.
As there was no such option presented in the meeting , the meeting was concluded and it was decided to hold next meeting on 15th Jan, he added.
Farmer leader Gurbaksa Singh Barnala said that the farmers will intensify the stir and enter Delhi on Republic Day if their demands are not met. "There is no way forward but to repeal the three laws," he said.
Another leader Hannan Mollah said that farmers are ready to fight till death. He also pointed out that going to court no option.
All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) member Kavitha Kuruganti, who was also present in the meeting, said the government has told unions that it cannot and will not repeal these laws.
Just before the meeting, Kuruganti had said that "If no solution arrived in today's meeting, we will continue with our plan of tractor rally on January 26,"
"Our main demand is the repeal of the laws. We will not accept any amendments. The government is taking it as a prestige issue and not taking back the laws. But this is a life and death question for all farmers. There is no change in our stand since the beginning," she added.
Earlier, ahead of the talks, the government had expressed hope of positive results from the meeting while the farmers threatened to intensify the stir if their demand to repeal three contentious farm laws is not fulfilled.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Sigh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Som Parkash,who is an MP from Punjab hold talks with unions at Vigyan Bhawan in the heart of the national capital representing the government while Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal and other Ministry officials were also present.
The agitating farmers took out tractor rallies on Thursday to press their demand for a rollback of the laws, while the Centre asserted that it was ready to consider any proposal other than a repeal of the legislations.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a month now against the three laws, despite the cold weather and heavy rains.
(with inputs from agencies)