Punjab all-party meeting demands immediate withdrawal of farm laws

The all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday on the farmers’ agitation urged the Centre to immediately withdraw the three farm laws.

It was decided that an all-party delegation will raise the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with other matters of concern on the agitation, said a government statement. Condemning what was termed as “sponsored violence” in Delhi, a resolution was passed demanding appropriate judicial inquiry into the laxity and complicity of those responsible for maintaining peace and order at the Red Fort.

The meeting was boycotted by the BJP but attended by Congress, AAP, SAD, Lok Insaaf Party, SAD Democratic Party, BSP, CPI and CPI(M), as also AAP, which, however, walked out at the fag end over their demand for sending out the Punjab police to Delhi borders for providing security to farmers.

AAP demand unconstitutional: CM

The Chief Minister again rejected the demand terming it unconstitutional. “We talk about more federal powers for the States, then how can we do this?” he asked as the AAP leaders brought up the issue.

State AAP president and MP Bhagwant Mann told reporters the AAP had raised the issue of security of farmers sitting on the Delhi borders. “The Chief Minister is very insensitive towards the demands of the farmers and has been ignoring their every demand. It is on this issue that AAP had decided to walk out of the all-party meeting,” he said.

Terming the agitation as “historic and unparalleled”, though some miscreants tried to sabotage it through untoward incidents at the Red Fort on the Republic Day, the resolution said these “acts are truly condemnable and need to be probed thoroughly”. The parties urged the Centre “to withdraw all cases registered against the farmers, farm-workers, journalists and other peaceful agitators and release all those detained by the police or any other agencies”. The missing agitators should also be traced and restored to their respective families without any delay, they said.

The resolution also called upon the Centre “to make the minimum support price (MSP) a statutory right of the farmers, and continue with the procurement of foodgrains through the FCI and other such agencies as at present,” adding that “the procurement by Arthiyas may also continue as earlier”.

The resolution demanded withdrawal of the new Environment Protection (Amendment) Act, 2020 and urged the Centre to drop the proposal to enact the new Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2020.

State amendment Bills

The Chief Minister said his government will bring the State amendment Bills to negate the farm laws again in the Assembly since the Governor had failed to send the earlier Bills to the President.

SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra separately said raising the issue of misuse of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against farmer leaders and their supporters by the Central government in the forthcoming meetings with Prime Minister were also included in the joint resolution.

The BJP said it decided to boycott the meeting as the party holds Capt. Amarinder responsible for the present mess in Punjab. State party general secretaries Subhash Sharma and Jivan Gupta accused the Chief Minister of playing to the gallery for petty political gains.

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