ANI Photo | “We appeal to PM again… not a question of Punjab or Haryana alone”: Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher

Amid a third round of talks with the central government ending in a stalemate, the General Secretary of Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Sarwan Singh Pandher on Friday urged an intervention on part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the farmers issues adding that they would like to solve the issues ‘amicably’.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, the farmer leader raised concerns over the central government’s use of para-military forces to resist the farmers that have left hundreds injured.
“The demands of the farmers and farm labourers of the country are united, everyone is fighting together. Look, now there are 54 serious injuries. The way the overall number is 400. People have suffered huge losses, so this is continuously happening. So we have raised most of these things in the meeting yesterday and we will again appeal to the Honorable Prime Minister through you.”
“It is not appropriate that military force is imposed on them, give us the right to protest peacefully, if you do not want us to demand or accept our demands and as far as the demands are concerned, there should be long discussion on every demand,” Pandher said.
“That whenever there will be talks again, please, we would like these issues to be resolved amicably or else we should be allowed to present our views democratically and constitutionally,” he added.
He emphasised that the MSP purchase issue raised by the Punjab farmers is not just confined to Punjab or Haryana but is a question of farmers across the country.
“Many things are being said, so we would like to tell everyone that farmers are also farm labourers. The law of guarantee of MSP purchase is not a question of Punjab or Haryana alone. Here, some crops are being procured, but there are states like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan and other states of the country where many farmers are in bad condition, then the entire country needs a law to purchase more MSP than just these two states and this movement is a nationwide movement,” the farmer leader said.
“Kisan Mazdoor Morcha is an umbrella union umbrella morcha which has 100 sub-unions, similar is SKEM. The forms are working and the entire country is with the organization, so I don’t think it is inappropriate to talk like this, even today we say that whoever is a voter or supporter of Modi ji, he should vote for Modi ji. We have no objection, we have no connection with any politics, but the farmers and farm labourers of the country will stand with us on these demands,” he added.
Speaking on Thursday’s meeting with the central government, the farmer leader alleged that the authorities are threatening to shut down the farmer leaders’ social media handles while pointing to the internet shutdown in Punjab and Haryana.
“There were representatives of the farmers, our delegation was around 14, big leaders of both the forums were present in the meeting, from the government side there were three Union Ministers and the Chief Minister of Punjab, the DGP of Punjab and senior officials of the Center,” he said.
Union Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister Arjun Munda, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai represented the Centre at the meeting over the farmer unions’ various demands, including a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) for crops.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was also present at the meeting.
“The talks are going on, the same ministers and also the Chief Minister of Punjab, they talked about other things. Yesterday when we summed it up, the DGP of Punjab and The Chief Minister said that we will shut down your Twitter handles and pages as soon as possible and just like you see in Punjab too, in Patiala where the Center decided to shut down the net on the two protesting districts, the Punjab Government did the same,” Pandher remarked.
Three Union ministers held talks with the leaders of protesting farmer unions for more than five hours on Thursday night, amid a standoff between the protesters and security personnel at two points on the Punjab-Haryana border.
Jagjit Singh Dallewal, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur), said that the government asked for more time to discuss the demands of the farmers in detail.
“We engaged in a detailed discussion, and the government acknowledged the need for dialogue on MSP and shared debts, committing to further discussions. After the discussion, the government said that the demands require a detailed discussion. They have decided Sunday for the next (fourth) round of meeting,” he said.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha have given a “Delhi Chalo” call to press the BJP-led Centre to accept their demands.
Farmers from Punjab began their march to the national capital on Tuesday but were stopped by security personnel at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points between Punjab and Haryana.
The protesting farmers have been camping at the border points.
The Haryana police continued its action with force by firing tear gas shells (with drones also), and water cannons towards the Punjab area, to stop the protestors from marching towards Delhi on Wednesday at the Shambhu border of Ambala and Patiala districts.
Travelling on trucks and trolleys loaded with food, bedding and other supplies, the farmers began their “Delhi Chalo” march on Tuesday morning after talks with the government failed to yield a commitment on minimum prices for a range of crops

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