Farmers’ leaders sent a formal rejection letter to the Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare on December 16, 2020 refusing to accept the government proposal sent to the farmers organisations on December 9.
The letter was sent following repeated questions by the media at a press conference on December 15 regarding possible talks between farmers and the central government.
“We want the government to stop defaming the peasant movement and stop parallel talks with other peasant organisations… With reference to the proposal and letter received from you [Joint Secretary Vivek Agarwal], I would like to inform the government that the farmers’ organizations held a joint meeting on the same day and rejected the proposal. The written form was the same as the oral proposal by the delegates. We had already put our basics verbally in various rounds of conversations, therefore, did not respond in writing,” said farmers’ leader Darshan Pal in the letter.
During the press conference, Delhi farmer leader Yudhvir Singh said, “In this six-year regime, the Modi-government has created many rifts in society on the basis of castes and communities. Now, the government is trying to do the same to farmers. We reiterate that this movement will only go stronger.”
Accordingly, members of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha also acknowledged the many farmers who had sacrificed their lives in the interest of the movement.
To pay their respects, leaders called for a Homage Day (Shraddhanjali Diwas) across India on December 20 from 11 AM to 1 PM for all to become martyrs in the ongoing farmers’ protest.
Maharashtra farmer leader Sandeep Gidde said, “We have received deaths of nearly 30 protesters so far. Farmers had announced long ago that these laws are a death warrant for us. The Modi regime is responsible for all deaths that have occurred till now.”
Yet, he said that people have begun recognising farmers’ struggle across the country. On December 14, as many as 350 districts participated in district-level dharnas. Similarly, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leader Inderjeet Singh said 150 tolls were freed.
“The government is baffled. It’s trying to make gross allegations against a historic movement but it won’t succeed. This movement will continue to grow,” he said.
Meanwhile, tensions continue to rise as protesting farmers and police prepare to increase strength at the Chilla border, the key point between Delhi and Noida.