'Centre ready for discussions on provisions of farm laws except for repealing them': Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar

The Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday told that the Central government has told the farmers union for discussions on provisions of the farm laws, however it will not hold any talks about repealing the law.

The protest against the laws by farmers camping at various Delhi border points began in November last year and they are demanding that the legislations be withdrawn.

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.

On Wednesday (June 30), Bharatiya Janata Party workers and farm law protesters clashed in Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. The ruckus took place when the BJP workers were carrying out a procession on a flyway where the farm law protesters, chiefly supporters of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, have been camping since November 2020, according to eye-witnesses.

As the two sides came near each other on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway around 12 pm, a scuffle broke out and they fought with sticks which led to some injuries, they said. Videos and pictures surfaced on social media, purportedly showing some damaged vehicles which were part of a cavalcade of a BJP politician, Amit Valmiki, for whose welcome the procession was being held.

Reacting to the clash, BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait on accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to flare-up caste-based riots.

According to a statement released by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Tikait said the BJP workers showed black flags to the farmers' leaders and used abusive language. Meanwhile, a group of Balmiki Samaj members rendered their support to protest against the agri laws, the statement added.

While the farmers alleged that the episode was a conspiracy of the BJP and the RSS to quell the seven-month-old protest, the ruling party workers claimed that abuses and casteist slurs were hurled against them when they were taking out a welcome procession for the newly-appointed BJP general secretary Amit Valmiki that led to the clash.

(With agency inputs)

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