Farmers' Protest LIVE Updates: SC to pronounce order on issues related to farm laws, ongoing agitation today

08:41 (IST)

Villagers protesting against farmers' stir return home

A day after blocking traffic on one carriageway of Jaipur-Delhi National Highway alleging that protesting farmers were creating unemployment and littering garbage in adjoining fields, local villagers returned home yesterday after Haryana police opened a slip lane on the highway.

On 10 January, locals near agitation site in Shajahanpur of Rajasthan's Alwar had pitched tents on one carriageway of the highway against the farmers' agitation. Sumer Singh, a protesting villager said their work and employment have been adversely affected due to the farmers' blockade and demanded its immediate removal.

08:38 (IST)

Mobile museum depicting Sikh history set up at Singhu border

A mobile museum depicting Sikh history has been brought to farmers' protest site at Singhu Border from Mohali.

Museum founder Parvinder Singh, a resident of Mohali, told ANI, "There should be a museum that can educate our youth generation about history of Sikhism". 

08:33 (IST)

Don't want to appear before SC-appointed committee: Farmers' leaders

A joint front of 40 agitating farmer unions welcomed the suggestion of the Supreme Court for a stay on the agricultural laws' implementation but said they are not willing to participate in any proceedings before a committee that may be appointed by it.

Pulling up the Centre for its handling of the farmers' protest, the apex court on Monday said it is extremely disappointed with the way negotiations between them were going and will constitute a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to resolve the impasse.

08:29 (IST)

Farmers threaten to 'gherao' UP Raj Bhavan on 23 January

A section of farmers protesting against the three central farm laws has threatened to 'gherao' Uttar Pradesh Raj Bhavan on 23 January.

Bhartiya Kisan Union spokesperson Dharmendra Malik isaid the agitating farmers would also burn copies of farm legislation on that day. Malik said the BKU executive committee, in a meeting at Ghazipur-UP gate border, also decided to observe 18 January as Mahila Kisan Divas (Women Farmers' Day) during which the womenfolk of villages would lead the ongoing protest against the government.

08:24 (IST)

Delegation of 500 Kerala farmers enroute to Delhi

A delegation of 500 farmers from Kerala left for Delhi on Monday by bus to join their counterparts at the borders of Delhi, who have been protesting against the contentious farm laws since 26 November last year.

The farmers, belonging to 'Kerala Karshaka Sangham', the state chapter of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the organisations at the forefront of the protest. AIKS vice president S Ramachandra Pillai flagged off the bus, which is expected to reach Delhi on 14 January.

08:19 (IST)

Farmers have been paid to protest: BJP MP S Muniswamy

BJP MP from Karnataka's Kolar S Muniswamy alleged that farmers who are protesting at Delhi borders have been paid and brought to agitation sites. "They are middlemen and fake farmers. They are eating pizza, burger and KFC products, and have set up gym there. This drama should stop," he told ANI.

07:58 (IST)

BKU says repealing farm laws is the only way out

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) said repealing the laws was the only way out, shortly after the Supreme Court pulled up the Centre over the three new farm laws.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan and Jhanda Singh Jethuke, president and senior vice-president of the BKU, said their struggle would continue till the laws were repealed.

“The reprimand of the central government by the Supreme Court over not resolving this issue is certainly welcome and it is an achievement of the struggle. Further reprimand by it over not entering into consultations with the farmers during the presentation and passing of these laws is a confirmation of the dictatorial attitude of the central government, corroborates its indifferent attitude and establishes further that the peasant struggle is legitimate,” they told The Tribune.

07:54 (IST)

SC to pronounce order on pleas relating to farm laws today

The Supreme Court will pronounce orders on Tuesday on various issues related to the new farm laws and the farmers' ongoing protest at Delhi borders and may take a call on setting up of a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India (CJI) to find ways to resolve the impasse.

The Bench had on Monday indicated amply that it may go to the extent of staying the implementation of the contentious farm laws and refused to grant extra time to the Centre to explore the possibility of amicable solution saying it has already granted the government a “long rope”.

07:46 (IST)

'Extremely disappointed' at negotiations between Centre, farmers: SC

The Supreme Court on Monday said it is “extremely disappointed” with the way negotiations are being held between the Centre and the farmers over the three farm laws, which have triggered protests by thousands of agriculturists at Delhi's borders.

"What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws," the bench told the Centre. "We are extremely disappointed at the way the government is handling the talks. What consultative process was followed by you before passing the laws? All are up in rebellion against the laws," it added.

Farmers' Protest LATEST Updates: The Supreme Court on Tuesday, rapping the Centre over its handling of the ongoing farmers protest at the borders of Delhi, said it is 'extremely disappointed ' with the way negotiations are unfolding.

The apex court asked the government if it would suspend the implementation of the laws or whether the court should step in for the same. The court further stated that it will constitute a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to resolve the impasse.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are camping at three border points of Delhi —Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur— for more than a month now, demanding the repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) system for their crops.

The eighth round of talks between the Centre and the farmer unions on 7 January appeared headed nowhere as the Centre ruled out repealing the contentious laws, while the farmers' leaders said they are ready to fight till death and their 'ghar waapsi' will happen only after 'law waapsi'.

The apex court had earlier issued notice and sought the Centre's response on a batch of pleas against the three contentious farm laws —the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

As per reports, farmers groups said they will not participate in the proceedings of a committee that the Supreme Court might appoint.

"We met our lawyers this evening at length and after deliberation on pros and cons of the suggestions of the committee, we informed them that we are unanimously not agreeable to go before any committee,"  the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said, as per CNBC-TV18.

Talking to news agency PTI, farmer leaders had earlier said they welcomed the top court's observations, but added that a stay on the implementation of the laws was not a solution as it would only be for a fixed amount of time. The leaders said that their agitation will continue till the laws are scrapped.

Meanwhile, INLD legislator Abhay Singh Chautala, writing to the Haryana Assembly Speaker, said if the Centre does not withdraw the three contentious farm laws by 26 January, then he would resign as an MLA from the House.

Extremely disappointed with negotiation process, says SC

While hearing a batch of petitions challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, justices V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna, expressed disappointment at the way the government is handling the protest.

"We are extremely disappointed with the negotiation process. We don't want to make any stray observations on your negotiations but we are extremely disappointed with the process," PTI quotes the court as saying.

"We don't know what consultative process you followed before the laws. Many states are up in rebellion," LiveLaw quoted the bench as saying.

When Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that amendments had started during the previous regime, CJI Bobde said," Mr Attorney, please understand it will not help you that some other government started it," reported Bar and Bench.

The apex court said it is not talking about the repeal of these farm laws at the moment. "This is a very delicate situation," the bench said, adding, "There is not a single petition before us which says that these farm laws are beneficial."

"We are not experts on economy; you tell us whether government is going to put on hold farm laws or we will do this," the bench said.

Venugopal argued that a law cannot be stayed unless the court finds it violates fundamental rights or constitutional schemes. "Our intention is to see whether we can find an amicable solution to all this. That is why we had asked you (Centre) whether you are willing to keep these laws on hold for sometime. But you wanted to buy time," the bench observed.

The apex court, which said the matter is getting worse and people are committing suicides, reiterated the need for having a committee comprising representatives from the government and farmer organisations from over the country and said it will stop the implementation of these laws if the panel advises doing so.  It said that the protesting farmer can tell their objections to the committee.

The court asked the parties to suggest two or three names of former CJIs including former CJI RM Lodha who can head the court-appointed panel.

The bench said it did not know whether the protesting farmers were observing social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic but was concerned about them getting food and water. The bench also expressed apprehension that there might be some incident which may breach the peace.

"Old people and women are on the ground. Why are old people in the farmers' protests? We don't want to comment on the merit of the agitation," the bench said.

It said after the implementation of these laws are stayed, the protesters can carry on with the agitation as the court doesn't want "anyone to say that we stifled the protest." We are not going to protect any lawbreakers. We want to prevent the loss of property and lives, it said.

When the attorney-general told the court that next meeting between the government and farmers is scheduled for 15 January and the court should not pass any order today, the bench said, "We do not think the Centre is handling the issue correctly. We have to take some action today. We don't think you are being effective. If laws are put on hold then negotiations will have a chance to work out. "

The court refused to grant extra time to the Centre to explore the possibility of amicable solution to the issue, saying it has already granted the government a long rope. "We have given you long rope, Mr Attorney-General, please don't lecture us on patience," the bench said.

"Whether you have faith or not, we are the Supreme Court of India, we will do our job," the bench told the protesting farmer unions.

The court, which indicated during the hearing that it may pass orders in parts, later said that the order will be pronounced on Tuesday.

'Will continue agitation even if implementation stayed'

Farmers leaders said they would continue their agitation even if the government or the Supreme Court stays the implementation, reported PTI.  The farmer leaders, who said they were "sharing their personal opinion", were also of the view that a stay is "not a solution" as it is only for a fixed period of time.

The farmers want the laws to be repealed completely. The protest will continue even if the government or the Supreme Court stays their implementation," Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union president Gurnam Singh Chaduni told the news agency.

Bhog Singh Mansa, president of Indian Farmers Union (Mansa), said "A stay is not a solution. We are here to get these laws scrapped completely... the government has in a way already agreed to scrap the laws when it said it is willing to incorporate as many amendments as farmers want."

"We appeal to the Supreme Court to terminate these laws as these are not valid constitutionally," Mansa said, adding the protest will continue till the "the laws are not repealed or the BJP government completes its tenure".

Punjab Kisan Union president Ruldu Singh Mansa echoed similar sentiments, saying the agitation began with the demand for scrapping the farm laws and "it will end only when we win this fight".

Darshan Pal, president of Krantikari Kisan Union, said the farmer leaders are consulting their lawyers and a formal response will be given after the court gave its verdict.

Centre files affidavit

Serious, sincere and constructive efforts have been made to engage with limited number of farmers protesting at Delhi border, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare said in an affidavit filed in the SC, hours after the hearing. The affidavit of Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, said it has been filed only to remove a deliberate wrong perception created systematically by non-farmer elements present at the protest site and using media/social media and to apprise this Court with true facts.
The Secretary said the 45-page affidavit has been submitted with the purpose of dispelling the erroneous notion that the protestors have peddled that the Central Government and the Parliament never had any consultative process or examination of issues by any Committee before passing of the laws in question.

 It is submitted that the Acts have received wide acceptance throughout the country and, therefore, some farmers and others objecting to the law had put a condition of its repeal, is neither justifiable nor acceptable. With a view to satisfy this court that sincere and possible attempts are made to engage a constructive dialogue with agitators, the affidavit said adding that the farmer unions never agreed to discuss the farm Acts and have been demanding their repeal.

PM should apologise to farmers, says Congress

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Today, the Supreme Court expressed its anguish and its disappointment over repeated failure of talks and on failure of the government in being able to find a solution."

The Congress spokesperson demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to the farmers of the country and repeal the three farm laws being opposed by them.

Surjewala held the prime minister, the home minister and chief ministers of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh directly responsible for the current agitation, saying they stopped the farmers from coming to Delhi and expressing their anger and opposition to the farm laws in a Gandhian manner. "The Supreme Court is the protector of laws and the Constitution and we all have faith in it. If someone opposes the laws in a Gandhian manner, then the court will also support such an opposition, as protesting peacefully is a basic right enshrined in the Constitution," he said.

The Supreme Court should take note of the actions of the prime minister, Home minister Amit Shah, Manohar Lal Khattar, Dushyant Chautala and Adityanath whose governments dug up roads and blocked roads by putting up barriers, and register cases against them for causing losses to the state exchequer and damage to public property, he added.

'Consider letter as resignation if laws not withdrawn'

Earlier in the day, INLD MLA from Haryana's Ellenabad, Abhay Singh Chautala, slammed the Centre for imposing the "black laws" on farmers in an "undemocratic way" and said the farming community in the entire country is opposing these legislations.

More than 60 farmers have "attained martyrdom" because of the intense cold weather but the Centre has paid no heed to their demands, Chautala wrote in a letter to state Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta. Despite holding eight rounds of talks with the farmer leaders, the government has not shown any sign of agreement on the withdrawal of farm laws, he further said.

The INLD leader said it does not seem that being a responsible member of the House, he can play any role to protect the rights of farmers under the kind of conditions created by the government. "Considering all these situations, if the Government of India does not withdraw these three 'black laws' by 26 January, then this letter should be considered as my resignation," he wrote to the Speaker.

Haryana Police books Chaduni, others 

The Haryana Police booked BKU (Charuni) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni, 70 other people by name and 800-900 unnamed people for rioting and damaging public property, a day after vandalism at the venue of a farmers' event which was to be addressed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said a police official from Karnal but added that nobody has been arrested yet.

They have been booked for rioting, assault on public servant, damaging public property, criminal conspiracy and other charges, police said and added they are collecting evidence including video clips in connection with the incident and would take action against those who are found involved in it.

A purported video of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Charuni, making an appeal to "end the arrogance of the CM" by not allowing him to address a kisan mahapanchayat, was circulating on social media, as per PTI. On 6 January, the BKU (Charuni) had threatened to oppose the 'kisan mahapanchayat'.

Agitating farmers had Sunday ransacked the venue of the 'kisan mahapanchayat', forcing the cancellation of Khattar's programme during which he was to address the gathering highlighting the "benefits" of the three contentious Central agriculture laws. Khattar had accused Chaduni of instigating people for vandalising the programme venue.

The Haryana Police had used water cannons and teargas shells to prevent farmers from marching towards Kaimla village, where the programme was to be held. The farmers, however, had managed to reach the venue and damage a makeshift helipad where Khattar's chopper was to land despite elaborate security arrangements made by police.

As per reports, BJP workers in Punjab's Jalandhar holding a sit-in over the "deteriorating law and order in the state " too faced counter protests from agitating farmers on Sunday. A large number of farmers, including workers of Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal) and BKU (Doaba), reached the venue and started removing the barricades but were stopped by nearly 1,400 policemen, reported the Indian Express.

As per a report in The Times of IndiaPunjab BJP president accused the Congress of vitiating the atmosphere in the name of the farmers. But Bahujan Samaj Front convenor Sukhwinder Singh Kotli said it is objectionable that he is calling the protesting farmers and Dalits as Congress agents.

BKU (Rajwal) general secretary Kulwinder Singh Machhiana, Kashmir Singh and Amarjot Singh Jandiala said that the farmers’ protest was peaceful and alleged that police had deliberately tried to spoil the atmosphere so that the BJP could organise its protest, as per the Indian Express report. They said that they will continue their protest against the BJP.

Youth Congress leaders who were going to oppose the BJP leaders too were stopped by the police, the reports said.

Farmers delegation leaves from Kerala

Meanwhile on Monday, a delegation of 500 farmers from Kerala left for Delhi on Monday by bus from Kerala to join their counterparts at the borders of Delhi. The farmers, belonging to''Kerala Karshaka Sangham'', the state chapter of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the organisations at the forefront of the protest will participate in the protest at Shahjahanpur, one of the venues.

KN Balagopal, secretary of Kerala Karshaka Sangham, told PTI that this was the first batch of farmers and the next one would soon leave for the National Capital. "We are not going just for expressing solidarity alone. We are going to participate in the agitation because the farm laws affect the state in a very serious manner.It affects the food security, price of our food grains will be affected by these laws," Balagopal said.

In Kerala, the farmers have been on an indefinite protest since 12 December. Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi, part of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, has been observing a relay protest at the Martyrs Column in Thiruvananthapuram in solidarity with farmers protest across the country.

With input from PTI


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