Indian farmers refused to end their protest on Saturday as the government ruled out a complete withdrawal of three contentious farm laws.

According to Indian media, the eighth round of talks between the government and representatives of protesting farmers on Friday ended without any breakthrough.

The farmers remained stuck to their demand to repeal the three laws, but the government insisted that only controversial clause of the law could be discussed during the talks.

The next round of talks is planned for January 15. The previous round of talks had also fizzled out though there was some headway in the sixth round on December 30 when the government conceded to two demands of the farmers regarding power subsidy and stubble burning.

British Labour Party MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, in the meantime, sent a letter, signed by more than 100 parliamentarians, to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and urged him to raise the farmers’ matter with Narendra Modi.

“Immensely grateful to the 100 plus MPs and Lords who’ve signed cross-party letter to the Prime Minister, given huge concerns for the peaceful Indian farmers’ protest. Boris Johnson must raise with the Indian PM when they liaise, expressing hopes of speedy resolution to the current deadlock,” Dhesi wrote in his message sent to media.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders continued their support to the agitating farmers.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi stepped up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him what he wanted to do.

He claimed that the government strategy was to linger on the deadlock and keep giving dates.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram suggested that government should keep the laws in abeyance.

“Saddened that the government remains as adamant as ever and refuses to relent. The wise course is to keep the unpopular farm laws in abeyance and start talking to all stakeholders on a clean slate,” he said.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati demanded that the government should revoke the farm laws.

“Discussions between the central government and farmers who have been protesting on the borders of Delhi for a long time once again failed. It is a matter of extreme concern. The Centre is again requested to accept the demand of farmers to withdraw the new agricultural laws and solve this problem soon,” Mayawati tweeted.

The farmers started sit-in protests at the outskirts of capital Delhi on Nov 26 last year after the Modi government adopted three farm laws in September. Farmers’ unions and opposition parties have termed them “anti-farmer laws” that would leave farmers at the “mercy of corporates.”


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