The agitating farmers’ groups who have been staying put at the Singhu and Tikri border points for four days, have rejected the Centre’s conditional invitation for talks, and also refused to shift to the designated protest grounds in Burari grounds, calling it an “open jail”.
On Sunday, after a meeting, the farmers’ leader said that they will not end the blockade of Delhi and will continue their agitation against the controversial new farm laws. Further, they stated that the farmers will not accept any conditional dialogue and will block all five entry points to Delhi.
“The condition laid down by Home Minister Amit Shah is not acceptable to us. We will not hold any conditional talks. We reject the government’s offer. The blockade will not end. We will block all five-entry point to Delhi,” stated Surjeet S Phul, Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Punjab president. “The condition put for talks is an insult to farmers. We will never go to Burari. It is not a park but an open jail,” he added.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are massed at the borders of Delhi, demanding to repeal the Centre’s three agricultural reform laws and withdrawal of an electricity bill. Equipped with rations that could last for months, they threatened to block five of the entry points into the capital if their demands were not heard.
Later, on November 28, the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to the 31 farmers’ unions from Punjab, reiterating Home Minister Amit Shah’s late-night appeal to farmers to move to the grounds in north-eastern Delhi, following which they will be called for a meeting by the Centre.
“If you shift to the Burari grounds, then the very next day the Central government will hold talks with you, with a high-level committee of Union Ministers at Vigyan Bhavan,” read the letter.
However, a representative of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella body of farmers’ groups asserted that “If the government is serious about addressing the demands of the farmers, it should stop laying down conditions, should stop assuming that the dialogue can be about an explanation to farmers about the benefits of the Acts.”
On the other hand, Joginder Singh, president of Bhartiya Kisan Ektagrah, “We are sitting at the borders. Our demand is that the government take back the farm laws and we will not accept anything less than that.”
Raising slogans against the government, the farmers staged protests at the border amid heavy police presence. Meanwhile, the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) offered food to the agitating farmers.