The Supreme Court will hear a plea seeking immediate removal of farmers protesting at Delhi’s border points against the new agri reforms on Wednesday. Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi gateways for over 20 days now. Farmer leaders on Tuesday hardened their stance and said they will “make” the government repeal the farm legislations, asserting that their fight has reached a stage where they are “determined” to win it no matter what. Farmers said they will completely block the Chilla Border between Delhi and Noida on Wednesday to press for their demands.
A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian will hear the petition, filed by a law student. In his plea, the petitioner has also sought directions to authorities for the opening of roads at Delhi’s borders, shift the protesters to the allotted place and provide guidelines on social distancing and use of masks at the protest site in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Amid the continued standoff, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday said the Acts have been welcomed in various states across the country but the Centre is willing to continue its talks with “genuine farm unions” to find a solution with an open mind. He also said that the Minimum Support Price (MSP), at which the government commits to procure the produce from farmers, is an administrative decision and it “will continue as it is”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Gujarat on Tuesday, said that “a conspiracy is afoot to confuse farmers” who have gathered near Delhi at present. He made a strong pitch for the agri laws enacted in September, describing them as historic and said his government was ready to remove any doubts about the legislations. Without taking names, Modi, on a day-long visit to Gujarat, said opposition parties who are supporting the protest, when in power, were in favour of similar reforms in the agriculture sector.
In its proposal to farmers on Wednesday last week, the Centre had said it will give a written assurance that the MSP system will remain and also redress their other key concerns. The unions, however, are demanding complete rollback of the central laws and have threatened to intensify their agitation.