Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the Centre will hear the concerns and demands of the agitating farmers and urged them to move to the designated protest site in north Delhi.
Shah made this appeal as thousands of farmers gathered at various border points in Delhi to join the protest against the new farm laws passed by the parliament in September.
“The government of India is ready to hold talks… the agriculture minister has invited them (farmers) on 3 December for discussion. We are ready to deliberate on every problem and demand of the farmers,” Shah said.
Shah urged the farmers to move their protest to the designated site in north Delhi. “At many places, farmers are staying with their tractors and trollies on highways in this cold. I appeal to them that Delhi Police are ready to shift you to big ground, please go there. You will be given police permission to hold programmes there,” he said.
On farmers rejecting the Delhi Police’s offer to stage protest at the Sant Nirankari ground in Delhi’s Burari, the home minister said the Centre will hold talks the very next day if the protesters shift to the designated site.
“If farmers’ unions want to hold a discussion before 3 December, then I want to assure you all that as soon as you shift your protest to a designated place, our government will hold talks to address your concerns the very next day,” Shah said.
The number of demonstrators swelled at the Singhu border as the farmers camping there for the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march were joined by more counterparts from Punjab and Haryana, all of them refusing to move towards the Sant Nirankari ground, one of the largest in the national capital.
Many of these farmers continued to hold their protest peacefully at the Singhu border. They have been holding meetings there to decide on their next course of action. They have made arrangements for a long stay also at the Delhi-Haryana border.
The farmers at the Tikri border seem to have come prepared for a long haul too. They have come fully prepared with rations and utensils to cook food, and have been charging their phones in their vehicles.
Farmers protesting against the centre’s three farm laws have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The centre has invited several Punjab farmer organisations for another round of talks in Delhi on 3 December.