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Farmers’ Protest Live Updates: Ninth round of govt-farmer talks underway; Rahul asks people to join ‘Satyagraha’

Farmers' Protest Live News Updates: "The government’s ninth round of negotiations with protesting farmer unions will take place as scheduled on Friday and the Centre is hopeful of positive discussions. The government is ready to hold talks with farmers’ leaders with an open mind,” Tomar said.

The ninth round of talks between the farmer unions and the government, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling appointing a four-member panel to resolve the impasse, began on Friday. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had Thursday said the talk will be done with ‘an open mind’.

“The government’s ninth round of negotiations with protesting farmer unions will take place as scheduled on Friday and the Centre is hopeful of positive discussions. The government is ready to hold talks with farmers’ leaders with an open mind,” Tomar said.

The farmer unions have been maintaining that they were ready to attend the scheduled talks with the government, even as they have said they do not want to appear before the court-appointed panel and have also questioned its composition.

On Thursday, two days after the Supreme Court named him as one of the four members of an expert committee, tasked to listen to grievances of farmers opposed to the new agriculture laws and the views of the government, Bhupinder Singh Mann, president of BKU (Mann) and chairman of All India Kisan Coordination Committee recused himself from the court-appointed panel and said “I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab”.

Meanwhile, asking people to join the farmers’ “Satyagraha” against the Modi government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday spoke out in support of the ongoing protests and against rising fuel prices in the country. The Congress is observing the day as Kisan Adhikar Divas and will take out protest marches in all state capitals.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at the border of Delhi for several weeks, demanding the repeal of the laws they say will lead to the weakening of the minimum support price (MSP) system.

The three contentious laws are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

The apex court had on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three central laws till further orders and announced the formation of a committee to hear the grievances of the farmers and the opinion of the government.

Apart from Mann, Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) president Anil Ghanwat, International Food Policy Research Institute’s Pramod Kumar Joshi and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati were appointed on the panel.

After the last meeting, Tomar had said: “The discussions today were related to the three laws, but no decision could be reached. The government repeatedly requested the unions to suggest an alternative other than the repeal, and the government would consider it. But even after a long discussion, no alternative was presented. Therefore, the discussion was adjourned today.”

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