NEW DELHI: The farmers’ agitation continued on the 23rd day on Friday and their unions were busy chalking out strategies to intensify the protest. As the issue is now in the Supreme Court, the farmer leaders are not only keeping an eye on the proceedings but are also seeking legal opinions.
Although the apex court has not yet delivered any order asking the farmers to vacate the roads. The farmer leaders say that if they are served any notices from the court, they will take support from their lawyers.
Major Singh Punawal, general secretary of Punjab’s All India Kisan Sabha, told IANS, “When the farmers will receive a notice regarding their protest from the SC, we will take the legal opinion from the lawyers.” Punawal said the protest by the farmers is going on in a peaceful manner and will continue till the government rolls back all the three farm laws. He said tributes will be paid on December 20 to those farmers who died during the protests.
Farmers have been camping since November 26 at the Delhi borders. They are demanding the withdrawal of all three new farm laws implemented by the Central government during the coronavirus pandemic.
Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Punjab, said that at least one person from every household in Punjab is joining the protest. And, people from other provinces of the country are also joining them. A few days back there were thousands at the Delhi borders and now there are lakhs.
Lakhowal said, “Like everyday today (on Friday) also there would be a discussion among the various leaders of the farmer organisations on the outline and strategy of the agitation at Delhi’s Singhu border and a press conference would be organised in the evening.”
He is also keeping a close watch on the hearings on the petitions related to the farmers’ agitation in the SC and there would also be consultations held regarding this among the farmer leaders, Lakhowal added.
Chief Justice S.A. Bobde on Thursday heard the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, who is the legal prosecutor representing the Central government, was asked whether he could give the assurance that the Centre would not enforce the farm laws till the time the court was hearing the matter.
However, the apex court made it clear that it is not of the opinion to ban the farm laws but an exercise to explore the possibilities of the negotiations between the Central government and the farmer unions. To this the Attorney General responded, saying that the farmer leaders are adamant and do not want to facilitate talks with the Centre until all the three laws are withdrawn.
Lakhowal said, “We want the Supreme Court to put all the three farm laws on hold till the farmer issue is resolved through negotiations between the Central government and the farmers.”
Joginder Singh, President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), another farmer organisation in Punjab, said nearly two dozen farmers have died during the agitation. “We will pay tributes to the farmers who were martyred during the farmer agitation on December 20. Condolence meetings will be organised across the country,” he said.
Asked about the hearing in the Supreme Court on the issue of farmer protests, he said, “The farmers have not received any notice from the SC in this regard. If any notice is received, we will discuss and decide on it.”