Protesting farmers on Wednesday burnt copies of the three farm laws to mark the festival of Lohri, a day after the Supreme Court had stayed their implementation, even as Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said the government is in favour of continuing talks with the protesting farmer groups as it believes a solution can be found only through dialogue.
Some 100,000 copies of the laws were burnt at the Singhu border, said Paramjeet Singh, leader of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a group spearheading the protests.
Lohri is widely celebrated in Punjab and Haryana to mark the harvesting of Rabi crops. People traditionally celebrate it by circling around bonfires, throwing food items — peanuts, puffed rice, popcorn etc — into the fire, singing folk songs, dancing and feasting on the festive food.
“The celebrations can wait. We will celebrate all these festivals the day our demand of repealing of these black laws are met by the Centre,” said 65-year old Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who hails from Haryana’s Karnal district.
Several bonfires were lined up at the Delhi-Haryana border stretch, the nerve centre of the farmers’ agitation. The protesting farmers raised slogans, sang songs of resistance and hope as they orbited the bonfire, burning copies of farm laws and praying for the success of their protest.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Wednesday reciprocated to the protesting farmers’ willingness to continue with talks while rejecting the Supreme Court’s staying of the acts and formation of a committee.
“Talks must continue. It is only through dialogue, a way forward can be found,” Purshottam Rupala told PTI.
So far, eight rounds of negotiations have been held between the government and a representative-group of farmers protesting against three farm laws but all of them have failed to resolve the crisis. Following, which the Supreme Court intervened on Tuesday and stayed the implementation of the three Acts till further orders and set up a four-member committee to end the impasse.
However, the protesting farmer unions have said they will not appear before the committee as they consider it to be “pro-government”.
They have, however, shown willingness to attend the scheduled ninth round of talks on January 15 with the government, though they have asserted they would not settle for anything less than a complete repeal of the laws.