During the fifth round of talks on the farm laws, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday requested farmer leaders to ask senior citizens and children at the protest sites to go home.
The farmers' agitation at Delhi borders and national capital entered the tenth day today with a large number of farmers gathered in and around the national capital to protest against the three farm laws. Many senior citizens and children have also joined the farmers in their agitation.
"I appeal to all of you to kindly ask senior citizens and children at the protest site to go home," Tomar said while requesting the farmer leaders present in the meeting on farm laws.
Farmer leaders did not accept the request of the minister and said, "We have supplies to last a year. We have been on the road for the past several days. If the government wants us to stay on the road, we have no problem. We won't take the path of non-violence. Intelligence Bureau will inform you what we are doing at protest site." "We do not want corporate farming. The government will benefit from this law and not the farmer," they added.
"I want to assure farmers that Modi govt was fully committed to you, & will remain so in future. Under PM Modi's leadership, several agricultural schemes have been implemented. Budget & MSP has also increased," he said.
"Farmers should keep faith in Modi govt that whatever will be done, it will be in their interest. I want to thank Farmers' unions for maintaining the discipline...Since talks couldn't be completed today, we've called for another meeting on 9th December," Tomar added.
Threatening to leave the meeting with the government, the leaders said, "The government should make a decision on our demands. Otherwise, we are walking out of the meeting."
"We have said that the MSP will continue, there is no threat to it. It is baseless to doubt this. Still, if someone is suspicious then the government is ready to resolve it," Tomar added.
"We don't intend to affect the mandi in the states, they are not affected by the law either. Govt is ready to do anything in its power to further strengthen APMC. If anyone has any misconception regarding APMCs, then govt is absolutely ready to clarify it," the Minister told the protesting farmers.
A written reply of the minutes of the last meeting was given to the farmers after farmers' representatives asked the Government to give a point-wise written reply.
Tomar and Union Food and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal are leading the talks with the farmer groups.
Ahead of the talks at Vigyan Bhawan, senior leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other ministers met and briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On December 3, the farmers held the fourth round of talks with the Centre and said the government had talked of bringing some amendments to farm laws. In the fourth round of the meeting, farmer leaders suggested the government to hold a special session of the Parliament and sought the abolition of the three farm laws.
Meanwhile, a nationwide shutdown has been called by the protesting farmers on December 8. "I'd not like to comment on program of Unions. But I'd like to urge farmers & Unions to leave path of agitation & come to path of discussion. Govt has had several rounds of talks with them & is ready for further discussion for a solution," the Agriculture Minister said on Dec 8 Bharat Bandh.
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.