The government should not question the patriotism of farmers as they are the ones who have made the country self-sufficient in food, Congress Rajya Sabha member Deepinder Singh Hooda said on Thursday.
Participating in the debate on a motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget Session, he also said that the government should show a big heart and accept the demands of the farmers by repealing the three new farm laws.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting against the laws for over two months at Delhi's border points and demanding that the legislations enacted in September last year be repealed.
Attacking the Centre, Hooda said, "You talk about making (the country) self-sufficient. Let me warn you that a self-obsessed government cannot make an Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-sufficient India)."
"The government has no right to question the patriotism of farmers as they have made the country self-sufficient in food and are feeding the 135 crore people of India. They have been doing so since Independence," he said.
Farmers are protesting against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The Centre has maintained that the laws are pro-farmer
The MP from Haryana said there has not been a single word of condolence from the government yet for the farmers who lost their life during the ongoing agitation.
"Hundreds of lives have been lost but there hasn't been a single letter of condolence from the government. I listened to the statements of all BJP members. For these 194 families, words of condolence are far fetched, they were not even mentioned," Hooda said.
Farmers are fighting for protection of minimum support price (MSP) and consumers, he said.
"Be it the Pagdi Sambhal Jatta movement of 1905, be it the Champaran Satyagrah, be it the Bardoli movement of Gujarat, farmers have not lost as much lives in any agitation as they have lost in this agitation," Hooda said.
Attempts have been also made to crush the voice of farmers by calling them traitors and allegations have been made against them that they have been funded by Pakistan and China, he claimed.
Congress, among other opposition parties including BJP's former allies Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena, has lent its support to the farmers' agitation.
After the prime minister's statement that he just a phone call away, fences have been put at Delhi borders, temporary toilets have been removed and internet has been shut down in areas where farmers are protesting, Hooda said.
Farmer organisations have distanced themselves from the incident at the Red Fort on January 26 and they should be trusted and action must be taken against culprits, he said.
CPI MP Binoy Viswam said that he has visited the protest sites and there he saw paramilitary and government forces are armed to treat farmers as "enemies".
The government should tell the nation if the protesting farmers are the country's enemy and if they are not then listen to them repeal the farm laws, he said.
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