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Protests will be on till May 2024 if demands not met: Farmers

Rakesh Tikait, core committee member of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha which is staging a sit-in demonstration outside Delhi against the three farm laws enacted by the Centre, on Sunday said: “The agitating farmers are prepared to continue their protest till May 2024 if their demand for the three acts to be repealed is not met by the government.”

Tikait was addressing a press conference here as part of the Morcha’s programme to reach out to people in other parts of the country to explain the farmers’ position.

“What is going on in Delhi is a revolution of thoughts (vaicharik kranti), which will never fail since the people in the agitation belong to India’s villages. We are firm on our demands of the three acts to be repealed and the minimum support price to be made a legal right of the farmers,” Tikait added.

Tikait denied that it was an agitation only by Punjab and Haryana farmers. “There are farmers also from other parts of the country there, and farmers from other states are also supporting us. But governments in various states have unleashed police on those who want to join the agitation. The police are keeping an eye on those trying to join the protests and are preventing them,” he added.

He also denied that some of the organisations are likely to quit the agitation. “A total of 550 farmers’ organisations are associated with the agitation. They are all prepared for a long haul,” he said.

Asked how long the protesters will continue the agitation in Delhi, Tikait said, “If necessary, till May 2024.”

On the Supreme Court’s verdict for stay on the three acts and formation of a committee to iron out differences between the government and farmers, the Morcha leader said: “We respect the Supreme Court. But we had not approached them. And the committee members have taken a position in favour of the three acts. So we are firm on our demands.”

Asked about the Opposition’s response to the protests, Tikait said: “The agitation itself was a result of inaction by the opposition parties. But some of them, like the Congress, have now joined the chorus.”

Raj Bhavan gherao

The Morcha’s Maharashtra coordinator Sandeep Gidde said farmers in Maharashtra will take out a 1,000-tractor rally on January 23 and gherao the governor, using “guerilla tactic”. “We will gherao one of the three Raj Bhavans, be it Mumbai, Pune or Nagpur. We will use guerilla tactic. Tractor rallies will be held in each district of the state on January 26,” he added.

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