Punjab can’t become “another J&K”, says Channi as he asks Modi to talk to farmers

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Farmers push a tractor on the NH-9 on the NH-9 during the nationwide ' Bharat Bandh' called by Samyukt Kisan Morcha to mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three farm laws at Delhi- Ghazipur Border, in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait says the Government lies to the media that it is open to dialogue on the issue of ongoing farmers agitation

Our Bureau
Chandigarh/New Delhi  

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday said that he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the matter of farmers’ protest and resume dialogue with the agitating farmers. Channi met Modi in Delhi for the first time after taking oath as the Punjab CM earlier this month. “I asked the PM to resolve the matter of farmers’ protest and resume dialogue with the protesting farmers. I demanded that the three laws should be withdrawn,” he told reporters here after the meeting.


Earlier, Channi on Tuesday said that farmers’ protest is an important issue and the Centre should take it seriously adding the state should not be made into another Jammu and Kashmir. “This (protest against three farm laws) is a serious issue, the Central government should take it seriously. Punjab is a border state and should not be made into another Jammu and Kashmir,” said the Chief Minister while addressing a press conference in Chandigarh today. His remarks come a day after several farmer unions’ observed a ‘Bharat Bandh’ to mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three farm laws.


Channi also said that the condition of the farmers is deteriorating with time, alleging that the Centre is unaffected. He also urged the Centre to scrap the three farm laws that came into existence last year. “The condition of the farmers is getting worse day by day but the Centre is unaffected. I, as Punjab Chief Minister, want to appeal to the Centre to repeal the three farm laws,” he said.


The Chief Minister also said that the Centre has brought in a system to “make the farmers poor”.


Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the enacted farm laws: 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.

Women farmers raise slogans during protest at the Deputy Commissioner’s office against three farm laws at the Deputy Commissioner’s office , in Amritsar on Tuesday. (ANI)

Farmer leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday said that Government lies to the media that it is open to dialogue on the issue of ongoing farmers agitation. Addressing a press conference here, Tikait said, “Government lies to media that it is open to dialogue but farmers are not. They want to hold conditional dialogue, in which farmers will not participate. They said farm laws would not be rolled back. It means they have already drafted the agreement and farmers just have to sign it.” Asked about his statement against media, Tikait said, “I had said something yesterday which was misinterpreted. I actually meant that the next target of the Centre is media houses. We have never said anything against media.”


Rakesh Tikait on Tuesday had said media houses will be the next target and will suffer if they do not support farmers’ protest. “Everyone should join us. The next target will be media houses. If you want to be saved then join us, else you will also suffer. We will raise the issues of (farmers from) Chhattisgarh. The biggest problem is of MSP in the country. We will raise this issue. We will talk about how vegetable farmers of state can be benefited more and what policies need to be made for them,” Tikait told mediapersons after arriving in Raipur.


Earlier on Monday, a call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ was given by several farmer unions in protest against the three farm laws introduced by the Centre last year.

Rakesh Tikait had termed Bharat Bandh’s call a “success” and claimed that the people supported the shutdown in large numbers.

But Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Monday severely criticized the Kerala government for extending support to Bharat Bandh called by farmers’ unions and said that “protest by farmers is politically motivated and it is an anti-government”.

“The Agriculture Laws, that are enacted, don’t have anything to do with Kerala as Kerala doesn’t have mandis. Then why Kerala people are subjected to unnecessary torture? It’s a politically motivated anti-PM Modi protest,” Union Minister V Muraleedharan said. The Minister had urged Left Democratic Front (LDF) and Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) to rethink supporting ‘Hartal culture’ as it is not going to attract investments to Kerala.

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