Minutes after Lok Sabha passed a crucial bill to cancel three contentious farm laws, Rakesh Tikait, one of the prominent faces of year-long farmers’ protest called the Farm Laws Repeal Bill “a tribute to all 750 farmers who lost their lives during the protest.”
“This (Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 passed by Lok Sabha) is a tribute to all 750 farmers who lost their lives during the agitation,” Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait told news agency ANI.
The protest will continue as other issues including MSP are still pending, said Tikait.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi’s border entry points since November 2020, seeking the withdrawal of the farm laws.
The laws 1) Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2) Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and 3) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 are draconian, according to the protesting farmers.
Farmers’ protest in the borders of Delhi was, at times, lauded as the largest protest gathering in human history.
Following a year-long agitation, in an address to the nation on November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repealing of the three Central farm laws.
However, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, asked farmers to continue the protest against the Union government and said that the demand for a legal guarantee on Minimum Support Price is crucial to the agitation.
The protesting farmers fear that the government plans to dismantle the Minimum Support Price regime under the guise of reforming the agricultural sector. The MSP is the guaranteed amount paid to farmers when the government buys their produce.
The farm leaders also said that they were unhappy with the lack of action against Union minister Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish Mishra is accused in the farmers’ killings in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur.
The Farm Laws Repeal Bill was passed in Lok Sabha amid protests over demands for a discussion by the opposition.
“When it is listed as consideration and passing of the Bill, why can’t there be a debate? This government, since 2014, has been passing and repealing Bills without any discussions. You have taken this house for a ride,” Indian Express quotes Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Choudhary as saying.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: A debate would make the PM & BJP answerable for 1) Conspiracy to sell the farming sector at the altar of Crony Friends, 2) Sacrifice of 700 farmers and 3) Not giving MSP.