Zafar Aafaq |Clarion India
NEW DELHI — Ahead of the meeting of leaders of farmer unions with the Central government on Wednesday, the president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan expects the meeting will break a deadlock prevailing between the two sides since they last met on December 8.
Speaking exclusively with Clarion India from Tikri Border where he is camping along with tens of thousands of farmers, Ugrahan said, Wednesday’s meeting means a deadlock would break but to know “whether the attitude of the government has changed or it is still harping the amendment line” will be revealed only when the meeting happens.
The call for a meeting was made by the centre on Monday after a stalemate which began on December 8 when union leaders met home minister Amit Shah in a hurriedly arranged meeting. Before that there have been multiple rounds of talks between the government involving the agriculture minister and union leaders but failed to break any ice.
Ugrahan said that leaders of farmer unions did not get time to discuss the strategy for the meeting but added, however, there is a consensus among all the unions on the decision taken by the Sanyukt Morcha that nothing short of repeal of all the three farm laws and demands mentioned in the list presented before the government would be accepted. “We are all speaking in one tune, there are no differences among us on demands,” Ugrahan said.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers from different states but mainly from Punjab and Haryana have been camping along borders of the national capital since late november primarily demanding the repeal of farm laws brought in by the Modi government in september. The farmers say the laws will strip them of the protection offered by the MSP system and open them to corporate assault.
‘Do not Support Damaging Jio Towers’
On the issue of cutting power supply to Jio telecom towers, Ugrahan said as a union leader he does not support such actions and added there was the possibility of “BJP supporters being involved in damaging towers to deliberately malign the farmers”. “We have put out videos appealing to the farmers to not indulge in damaging the towers,” he said but added that there was no doubt that the farm reforms were brought in “just for the benefit of big corporates”.
He said that even if the meeting with the government fails to yield results they will not lose heart as they have come prepared for a long haul. “In democracy this is our right to protest for our rights and we will plan our actions to get to our goal,” Ugrahan said.
On December 10 supporters of Ugrahan union observed the Human Rights Day by displaying pictorial banners of political prisoners at the protest gathering which caught the attention of the media and invited some flak from detractors including BJP leaders and some members of other unions.
However, Ugrahan backed the decision saying that his union will speak up about the rights of activists who were put behind bars for voicing their dissent against the Modi government.