Thursday 20 January 2022
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Farmers lobby with Johnson, British MPs against Indian sovereignty

'The UK PM is slated to visit India on 26 January; we are writing to British MPs, asking them to stop him until demands of farmers are met,' said a representative of the protesting farmers

The section of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, who are protesting the centre’s agriculture reform laws, say they will write to British political leaders and ask them to stop UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson from travelling to India till their demands are met. Johnson is supposed to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations of 2021.

Throwing blatantly a challenge to India’s sovereignty by seeking the intervention of a foreign power in a domestic matter of the country, Kulwant Singh Sandhu, a farmer leader from Punjab, said, “The UK Prime Minister is scheduled to visit India on 26 January. We are writing to British MPs asking them to stop him from visiting India till the time farmers’ demands are not met by the Indian government.”

While the UK, one of the international refuges of Khalistanis, is battling an aggressive mutant strain of the coronavirus, Johnson had said last week that it would be a “great honour” to attend India’s Republic Day celebration. This will be his first major bilateral visit since he took to the office of the British prime minister in 2018. His receiving the salute of the parade on 26 January 2021 will make him only the second British leader — after John Major in 1993 — to attend Delhi’s Republic Day parade.

Thousands of rich and pampered farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western are protesting against three farm-reforming laws passed by the Narendra Modi government in September, provisions of which were, otherwise, already in force for the past half a year. The farmers who demand a continuation of their ‘right’ to freeload and the middleman’s ‘right’ to exploit the peasants say the laws will rob them of access to MSP and leave them at the mercy of corporates — against repeated assurances to the contrary by the union government. The centre says the laws will help farmers get better for their produce, as they have the choice to sell their crops in any market in the country to continue selling in APMC mandis ( markets).

Multiple rounds of talks have failed, with neither side willing to budge from their positions. The demonstrating farmers want the laws repealed while the centre is only willing to add or remove provisions therein.

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