Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered had last month offered a conciliatory speech, prior to the farm laws being scrapped. A bill to that effect was also passed in Parliament in late November.
According to sources, the Centre has given protesting farmers written assurance that their demands, particularly legal guarantees for MSP, will be met. This marks a hugely significant moment for an agitation that has gone on for 15 months in the shadow of the second COVID wave, replete with political hijacks and unfortunate deaths, reportedly of more than 700 farmers, during the movement itself.
If the farmers accept and will call off a protest that has made headlines across the country (and the world) for more than a year, triggering violent clashes with security forces, furious debates and ruckus in Parliament and the deaths,
The MSP committee will consist of officials from the Centre and States, and representatives from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmer unions in the protests.
Thousands of cases filed in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh against farmers over violent clashes with police will also be dropped, the Centre’s letter read.
The governments of UP and Haryana had, in principle, agreed to similar measures regarding compensation to the families of the farmers who lost their lives in the protests.
Among other points the farmers had raised was the resignation of junior Home Minister Ajay Mishra, whose son, Ashish, has been arrested in connection with the running over of four farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri
While they rejoiced at the success of their protest, with the repeal of the farm laws, the farmers had refused to stand down, citing concern at the government’s reluctance to discuss the MSP issue. The farmers had made it clear that they would not stop the protest – which includes thousands camped out around Delhi borders – till issues, including MSP, were fully addressed.
With these developments being considered, that time may well have arrived and the agitation may just come to an end.
The farmers’ movement also underlines the underlying political leverage of the farmers’ lobbies, many of which have shown their political ambitions over the course of the protests.
How this plays out in the larger political landscape in India and the overrun in the polls for the BJP remains to be seen.
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