Modi government harassing farmers since 2014, working on policy to divide them: Congress

The protest against the laws by farmers camping at various Delhi border points began in November last year and they are demanding that the legislations be withdrawn.

The Modi government has been harassing farmers not just for the last seven months of their protest against the three farm laws, but since it came to power seven years ago, the Congress alleged on Saturday.

Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also posed a set of seven questions to the central government, asking whether it was working on a policy to “tire and drive away, harass and defeat, defame and divide” the protesting farmers by conspiring against them.

The protest against the laws by farmers camping at various Delhi border points began in November last year and they are demanding that the legislations be withdrawn.

“Even though farmers are sitting on an agitation since November last year, the Modi government has been conspiring to harass them for the last seven years ever since it came to power in 2014 by bringing the Land Acquisition Act to take away their land,” Mr. Surjewala said.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has appealed to protesting farmers to end their agitation, saying the government is ready to resume talks on the provisions of three legislations, which were enacted in September last year.

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the protest. Talks have not resumed following widespread violence during a tractor rally by protesting farmers on January 26.

The Supreme Court has put on hold the implementation of the laws till further orders and has set up a committee to find solutions, and it has already submitted its report.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that the increase in prices of farm inputs and rise in diesel price are aimed at making farming unremunerative so that farmers sell their land.

He claimed that the government has taken a number of steps against farmers and these include reducing minimum support price (MSP) of crops, brouging farm insurance to benefit insurance firms, imposing Goods and Services Tax on farm inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, drips and sprinklers, and then bringing the three “black” farm laws, which are all aimed at breaking the market to benefit capitalists.

“On one hand (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji pretends to give ₹6,000 annually and on the other hand, takes out ₹20,000 per hectare from the pockets of farmers by increasing the cost of farming,” he said.

Posing the seven questions to the government, Mr. Surjewala asked whether the Cost and Price Commission in its Kharif Report for 2021-22 has said the government keeps the sample size too small to calculate cost and this leads to incorrect cost price.

“Has the government not shut down grain markets continuously ever since the three black laws were implemented,” he asked.

Is not the farmer free to sell his crop anywhere in the country outside ‘mandis’ and if this is true, then what is the need of the three laws, Mr. Surjewala asked.

“Hasn’t hoarding stopped ever since the three agri laws have been suspended for implementation ? Then why does the Modi government want to give exemption to hoarders by implementing the three black laws that promote hoarding,” the Congress leader asked.

Is the government not working on a policy to “tire and drive away, harass and defeat, defame and divide farmers by conspiring against them”, the Congress leader asked.

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