India’s main opposition party pressed the government on Thursday to call a special parliamentary session to withdraw new agricultural laws that farmers say will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
Farmers take part in a protest against farm bills passed by India’s parliament at Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on the outskirts of Delhi, India, on December 17, 2020. (Reuters)
Six rounds of talks between government officials and farmer union leaders have failed to resolve the deadlock. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week offered to “very humbly” hold further discussions.
On Thursday, the government again invited protesting farmers to further talks.
Farmers union leaders have accused the government of trying to weaken and discredit them by describing protesting farmers as “anti-nationals.”
“You are dealing with protesting farmers in a manner as if they are not aggrieved citizens but political rivals,” Samyukta Kisan Morcha, or United Farmers’ Front, a coalition of farmers unions, said in a letter addressed to the farm ministry on Thursday.
“Farmers would be compelled to intensify their agitation further for their survival if the government continued to treat them in this manner,” the letter said.