7th Round of Talks with Farm Unions Ends in Stalemate


The seventh round of talks between Union Ministers and protesting farm unions on Monday failed to resolve the deadlock over three new agricultural reform laws. Both sides stuck to their own positions and accused the other of stubbornness, with the Centre seeking to discuss specific concerns on the laws and the farmers demanding total repeal. The next meeting will be held on January 8. Tens of thousands of farmers have now completed 40 days of agitation on the borders of Delhi, braving the bitter cold and pouring rain over the last few days. “There will be no Ghar wapsi (return home) until the laws are repealed,” Rakesh Tikait, leader of one of the factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, vowed after the meeting.


Although the 41 union representatives and three Central Ministers were closeted in the conference centre of Vigyan Bhavan for four hours, an extended lunch break — during which the Ministers held internal consultations — took up almost half that time.  The meeting began with the attendees observing two minutes’ silence to pay respects to the more than 50 protesters who have died over the course of the agitation. Farm unions also urged the Centre to condemn the “brutality” of the Haryana police, which used tear gas and chilli grenades on a group of protesters who broke through barricades on the Delhi­-Jaipur highway on Sunday. During the first hour, the Ministers listed the benefits of the three laws, saying they would bring more marketing choices for farmers. 



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