Farmers’ protest: Punjab’s largest union says not invited to meeting with Amit Shah

Farmers’ protest: Punjab’s largest union says not invited to meeting with Amit Shah
Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Updated: December 9, 2020 12:09:57 am

farmers meet Amit Shah, farmers protest, BKU Ugrahan, Punjab union not invited amit shah, amit shah farmers meeting, indian expressAIKS leader Hannan Mollah addresses the media after the meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah. (Photo: PTI)

Thirteen representatives of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, a combined body of protesting farmers under the banner of All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), met Union Home Minister Amit Shah Tuesday evening. The delegation included nine representatives from Punjab and one each from UP, West Bengal, MP and Haryana. However, not all representatives of the protesting farmers’ unions were called for the meeting.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president, BKU Ugrahan, the largest farmers’ union of Punjab, wasn’t among those invited. Voicing his misgivings, Ugrahan said, “Only some farmers’ unions were invited for the informal talks with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. I believe they shouldn’t have gone. After we had just formed the Delhi Morcha in November, I was invited by BJP leader Surjit Jayani for informal talks with the home minister. However, I turned down the talks offer saying I’ll go only when representatives of all farmers’ unions are invited. No one from BKU was invited to the meeting today and hence, none from our union went.”

“This informal meeting with members of only a handful of unions will only sow more doubts in people’s minds. Hence, it should have been avoided,” Ugrahan added.

However, the farmers themselves haven’t been projecting an united front on the ground. While 30 farmers’ unions have been holding protests under an umbrella front, BKU(Ugrahan) and Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee (KMSC) have been agitating on a separate platform.

Hence, the protesting farmers represent three separate fronts – a joint forum of 30 farmers’ unions, BKU (Ugrahan) and KMSC.

The same pattern of protests that was in evidence in Punjab has now been carried over to the borders of the Delhi. On December 5, Jagmohan Singh of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) had said, “We have resolved to come under one front and put forward a common demand, which is complete withdrawal of the three farm laws.” While several farm unions from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal came together under the Morcha, BKU (Ugrahan) and KMSC stayed out.

Sources said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) got in touch with the Sanyukt Morcha and invited 5 to 7 of its members for talks. However, it was later agreed that the Morcha would send 13 of its members for the meeting with Shah.

Jagmohan claimed his front wasn’t aware that the BKU wasn’t invited for the informal talks. “We didn’t know the BKU hadn’t been called for the meeting. However, they should have got in touch with us before going to the media about it. The Morcha decided to send 13 members after holding consultations and it isn’t fair to say that only a few unions were represented at the meeting,” Jagmohan said.

“This meeting wasn’t with 13 unions but 13 representatives of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha. Our members will brief the media on what went on once the meeting gets over. Until then, one shouldn’t fall for rumours,” he added.

KMSC president Satnam Singh Pannu could not be reached for his comments.

The ones chosen to represent the farmers at the meeting are Rakesh Singh Tikait from BKU (Tikait), a farmer leader from UP, Hannan Mollah, CPI(M) leader from MP, Shiv Kumar Hakka from Madhya Pradesh and Gurnam Singh Chaduni from BKU Haryana.

The remaining nine farmer leaders from Punjab are Balbir Singh Rajewal, Jagjit Singh Dallewal ,Ruldu Singh Mansa, Manjit Singh Rai, Buta Singh Burjgill, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, Dr Darshan Pal, Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Bhog Singh Mansa. Nearly 500 farmers’ unions responded to the ‘Delhi Chalo’ call under the banner of AIKSCC.

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