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Samyukt Kisan Morcha ‘suspends’ farm protests after letter from Centre

Farmers at Singh, Tikri and Ghazipur will start vacating the sites December 11, according to Samyukt Kisan Morcha

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which has been spearheading the farmers’ protests for over a year against the now-repealed farm laws, decided December 9, 2021 to “suspend” the protests, after intense negotiations between it and the central government.

The leaders said farmers would vacate the borders of Delhi December 11. However, the SKM also warned that it could resume the protest if the Centre backtracked from its promises.

“We have decided to suspend our agitation. We will hold a review meeting January 15. If the government doesn’t fulfil its promises, we could resume our protest. There will be monthly review meetings,” Gurnam Singh Chaduni, member of SKM, said.

Yogendra Yadav, the leader of the Swaraj Abhiyan Party, also clarified that the farmers will keep an eye on the actions of the government.

“Governments are not trustworthy. We will keep an eye. For now, the border areas and all places like toll plazas which were gheraoed, will be vacated from December 11,” he said.

The sit-in at Delhi’s border areas of Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur started November 26, 2020, after the three contentious farm laws were passed.

The Union government was forced to repeal the laws after a year-long continuous movement by the farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The SKM said in a statement:

Samyukt Kisan Morcha formally announces the lifting of the morchas at Delhi’s borders on national highways and various other locations in response. The current agitation stands suspended. The battle has been won and the war to ensure farmers’ rights, especially to secure minimum support price (MSP) as a legal entitlement for all farmers, will continue.

The SKM’s decision came after it received a final letter from the government December 9, agreeing to all its demands.

The government said a committee to discuss MSP will be formed to make it more effective. The SKM will list out its members in the panel. The government also said that the ongoing MSP policy will continue.

The letter further said the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana have decided to take back cases filed against farmers during the protest immediately. 

Cases filed by Union government agencies will also be withdrawn and the government will appeal to other state governments also to do the same.

The Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab governments have also given in-principle approval to give compensation to the kin of those who lost their lives during the year-long protest.

Some 715 farmers have died in the last one year, according to the SKM.

“SKM dedicates the fabulous and historic victory of the struggle to around 715 martyrs of the movement, including those in Lakhimpur-Kheri. SKM congratulates all the protesting farmers and citizens and their supporters wholeheartedly for waging an unprecedented struggle and for the glorious gains of the movement,” the SKM statement said.

The government has also agreed to first discuss the Electricity (Amendment) Bill with the stakeholder groups and the SKM and then present it in Parliament. There will also be no criminal liability to farmers in cases of stubble burning.

Yadav called it the biggest day for farmers. “Now, no prime minister or state government will think of messing with farmers,” he said.

The SKM said celebratory rallies will also be taken out December 11.

“Considering that the nation is mourning the demise of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and others, SKM decides to postpone all celebrations with regard to the victory of farmers. Celebratory rallies will be taken out day after tomorrow (December 11) now, when farmers leave the morcha sites together,” the statement said.

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