New Delhi: The ongoing farmers’ protests on Delhi borders witnessed a new twist on Thursday (January 14) as Bhartiya Kisan Union’s national president Bhupinder Singh Mann recused himself from the four-member committee appointed by the Supreme Court to resolve the deadlock between farmers and the Centre over the new agri-marketing laws. Mann’s announcement came on a day when his organisation’s Punjab unit decided to disassociate itself from him, and also in the wake of threats he received allegedly from Khalistan supporters from Canada.
Amid this situation, the question arises who will decide the future of the Kisan movement? Will the law made in the country’s Parliament or the Supreme Court or the separatist organizations sitting in Canada? The information in this regard has been given to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar by Vinod Anand of All India Kisan Coordination Committee.
By the time was conveyed to Union Agriculture Minister, Mann’s announcement came. In a statement, Mann said, “As a farmer myself and a union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country.”
“I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” said Mann who was also an ex-MP. He also said he is thankful to the apex court for nominating him to the panel but would give up any position to prevent farmers’ interests from being compromised.
Earlier, farmer unions and opposition parties too had raised doubts over the composition of the panel, insisting that its members have been in favour of the three laws in the past.
The DNA report is not saying that Mann’s decision has anything to do with the threats from Canada, but the timing to withdraw the name from the committee is raising several questions. Zee News has already been telling the country that many frontal organizations of Khalistan are active in this Kisan movement, and some have their roots in Canada.
One such banned organization in India, Sikhs For Justice, wrote a letter to the Supreme Court. The letter also threatened to hold a referendum on August 15 in London to make Punjab a separate country. Not only this but the banned organization, stated that it wants to see Punjab as an autonomous nation i.e. an independent nation.
A day earlier, it had announced that if a person waved the Khalistan flag in the Republic Day parade, he/she would be rewarded with prize money of about Rs 2 crore. The outfit has also provoked the farmers from Punjab to take out a tractor rally on the Republic Day.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the three farm laws and formed a four-member committee to hear farmers` grievances. Now, one member has recused himself from the committee, only two agricultural economists and one farmer leader are left in the panel.
Amid the latest development, the committee could hardly start its work till the appointment of a new member. The committee was asked to submit its report to the Supreme Court within two months of its first sitting, which is to take place within 10 days.
The Centre too has accepted the fact that Khalistan supporters have infiltrated the farmers’ protest. When Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court, a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde along with Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian asked the AG if there is infiltration by a banned organisation, then the government has to confirm it. It asked the AG to file an affidavit. AG replied, “Yes, I will file an affidavit and the IB reports.”
Notably, Zee News is constantly facing the wrath of some people for reporting the truth that Khalistani supporters have infiltrated into the protests.
The ninth round of talks between the government and protesting farmer unions will take place on Friday as scheduled. The Agriculture Minister said the Centre is looking forward to positive discussions with the farmers, adding that the government is ready to hold discussions with farmer unions leaders with an open mind.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been agitating at various Delhi borders since the last week of November. They want the Centre to repeal three controversial laws: 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.