“Meeting With Centre Tomorrow, Won’t Push Forward Until Then”: Farmers

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'Meeting With Centre Tomorrow, Won't Push Forward Until Then': Farmers

The meeting will be held in Chandigarh.

Chandigarh:

The Union government will hold a meeting with farmers in Chandigarh on Thursday and the protestors will remain peaceful and not try and push their way through the barricades and other barriers at various borders until then, a farmer leader has said. 

Speaking after a meeting with senior police officers in Chandigarh on Wednesday, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda and two other Union Ministers, Piyush Goyal and Nityanand Rai, will meet representatives of the protesting farmers in the city at 5 pm on Thursday.  Mr Goyal holds the Food and Public Distribution portfolio and Mr Rai is the Minister of State for Home. 

“Based on a message we got last night and Union Minister Anurag Thakur’s call for dialogue, we spoke to everyone in the movement and decided that we would remain peaceful today and not try and push further from where we were. A meeting has been called for 5 pm tomorrow and we will continue our peaceful protest. No action will be taken from our side until then,” said Mr Pandher. 

The farmer leader alleged, however, that even though they held a peaceful protest on Wednesday, drones were used and tear gas shells and rubber pellets were fired at them. “It wasn’t the police, but paramilitary forces that were attacking us. Despite all this, we are ready to speak to the Union government.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda had called for dialogue and urged the farmers not to do anything that inconveniences common people. 

“We should keep in mind all aspects and discuss this. The farmers need to ensure that normal life is not disrupted. I think no solution can be found by doing anything that causes inconvenience to the common man. Such actions only create hurdles in finding a solution. I urge them to maintain a conducive atmosphere for dialogue,” the minister said.

Speaking to NDTV on Tuesday, Union Minister Anurag Thakur had also called for discussions, stating that even the Indian Navy veterans were brought back from Qatar through the power of dialogue

Earlier Meeting

A six-hour meeting had been held between the farmers’ representatives and Union Ministers Munda and Goyal on Monday, and while the government had agreed to some of the farmers’ demands, a consensus could not be reached on three key issues – a legal guarantee for minimum support price, loan waivers, and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations – sources had told NDTV.

Nearly 1 lakh farmers, who have the support of about 200 farmer unions, began marching towards Delhi the next day. Tear gas was fired and water cannons were used against farmers who gathered at the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana, shortly after they began their march at noon. Tear gas canisters were also dropped from drones, and videos showed farmers jumping across concrete barriers and shoving barricades aside.

The protest was relatively peaceful on Wednesday. Farmers opted for a creative method to counter the use of drones by flying kites, hoping that the string would get entangled in the rotors. A video showed a protestor successfully downing a drone using this method.

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