The Congress on Saturday cited a media report to claim that 11 farmers had died in the last 17 days while protesting against the new agri laws, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi asking how many more sacrifices will farmers have to make to get the legislations repealed.
At least five rounds of formal talks have taken place between the Centre and representatives of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, protesting on various borders of the national capital for over two weeks, but the deadlock has continued with the unions sticking to their main demand for the repeal of the three contentious laws.
“How many more sacrifices will the farmers have to make to get the agri laws repealed?” Gandhi asked in a tweet in Hindi, tagging a media report which claimed that 11 protesting farmers had lost their lives in the last 17 days due to various reasons such as ill health or a mishap.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that despite the “martyrdom of 11 farmer brothers in the last 17 days, the Modi government is not relenting”.
“They (government) are still standing with their ‘money providers’ not with ‘annadaatas’ (food providers),” he alleged in a tweet in Hindi. “The country wants to know — ‘Is Rajdharma (constitutional responsibility) bigger or Rajhat’ (stubbornness)?” Surjewala asked, tagging the media report that Gandhi also cited.
Farmers are protesting the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.