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Monday, April 15, 2024

Union leaders spurn SC’s olive branch to resolve farmers protest

While the Supreme Court today stayed implementation of the three new farm laws in light of the 6-week old protests at Delhi borders by certain farmers unions, mostly representing farmers from parts of Punjab and Haryana, the protestors have outright dismissed the CJI-led bench order of forming a 4-member expert Committee to discuss their demands.

They are sticking to their intransigent demand of complete roll-back of the new laws, as they have steadfastly maintained in multiple-rounds of talks with the centre.

One of the union leaders, Darshan Pal, known for his pro-Maoist leanings, point-blank stated, “we won’t accept any committee formed by Supreme Court for mediation.”

Another protest leader Balbeer Singh Rajewal also contemptuously dismissed the Supreme Court’s mediatory efforts to break the logjam. “We will not appear before any committee; our agitation is against three farm laws. We never demanded from SC to form committee, govt behind all these,” Rajewal said at a press conference today.

Chief opposition party Congress also rode roughshod over the apex court’s efforts by questioning the ‘impartiality’ of the SC-appointed committee, and reiterated that the three new farm laws be instead withdrawn and demanded ‘direct talks by the Prime Minister with protesters’. Incidentally, the Congress routinely bashes Modi government for ‘centralising’ powers in the PMO, and is now claiming that parleys with the Union Agriculture Minister over farm laws are not enough.

During the court hearing today, the high-powered Lutyens’ lawyers lobby representing the protesting unions did not even turn up in court, despite having promised the court yesterday that they would take the Court’s suggestion of temporarily halting implementation of new laws and forming a Committee to look into their demands, to the unions and revert with a response.

The SC bench said it is not fair of counsel for farmers to appear before SC when it suits them and not appear when it doesn’t. None of four – Dushyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan, Colin Gonsalves and H S Phoolka – appeared in today’s hearing.

SC further said in its order that farmers may apply for permission to the Delhi police commissioner for protests at Ram Lila Maidan or other designated locations.

Security threat from separatist infiltrators

Advocate Narasimha, appearing for Consortium of Indian Farmers Association which filed a plea in support of the laws, said that there is a banned organization “Sikhs for Justice” which is helping the protests. The CJI asked the AG to confirm this, to which the AG replied, “We have said that Khalistanis have infiltrated into the protests.”

The bench then asked the AG file an affidavit confirming this point about infiltration by Wednesday. AG replied, “Yes, I will file an affidavit and the IB reports.”

The AG added that the government is wary of allowing a large crowd of protestors to come into the national capital, when intelligence reports have warned of infiltration by banned organisations. HinduPost has previously reported on instances of Khalistani propaganda and sloganeering at the protests, including death threats directed at the PM.

The AG also submitted some protestors have said that a tractor rally will take place on Republic Day, and cited the injunction application filed by the Delhi Police before the top court to stop farmers from causing any disruption. The Chief Justice said the court will issue notice and it will hear the matter on Monday.

Senior lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for the Government, reiterated that the two things which are causing concern among the farmers due to propaganda against the new laws – “1) Whether MSPs will be dismantled. 2)Whether lands will be sold. The AG and SG can assure that these concerns are unfounded. MSPs will not be dismantled and no lands will be sold off.”


With protesting unions refusing to engage even with the SC-appointed independent Committee, it appears that their leaders’ real motive is not to resolve whatever concerns the farmers may have, but something far more sinister. Seeing the type of dubious characters like Yogendra Yadav etc who have now got involved with the protests, and their demands to free those jailed for violence during last year’s anti-Hindu Delhi riots and the Bhima Koregaon violence before that, the goal could very well be to disrupt the Republic Day parade to create an international embarrassment for the country.

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