Farmers defer Parliament march before tabling of bill to repeal laws

Govt has accepted demand to decriminalise stubble burning; Agriculture minister Tomar

New Delhi: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has suspended its November 29 tractor march to Parliament and will hold a meeting next month to decide its future course of action, farmer leaders said on Saturday. The decision to suspend the march comes on the day Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the Central government has accepted the demand of farmers' organisations to decriminalise stubble burning.

"Farmer organisations had demanded to decriminalise stubble burning by farmers. The Government of India has accepted this demand as well," he was quoted as saying in reports.

The farmers' decision also comes two days ahead of the commencement of the Winter Session of Parliament during which a bill to repeal three Central farm laws is slated to be introduced.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions protesting against the laws for the past one year, also said it wants an assurance in Parliament on their demand for a legislation guaranteeing farmers Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops.

SKM leader Darshan Pal, while addressing a press conference, said, "We are suspending the Parliament march on Monday. We had written to the Prime Minister for withdrawal of cases against farmers, allotment of land for building a memorial for farmers who lost their lives (during the protest), suspension of Ajay Mishra Teni from the Union Cabinet over the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, along with other issues." He said that a reply is awaited and SKM will hold another meeting on December 4.

The SKM also demanded that the government should initiate a dialogue with them in a respectful way.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the three farm laws would be withdrawn.

Though farmer unions have welcomed the government's move, they said their protest would continue until the laws are totally and formally withdrawn and other demands, including legal guarantee of MSP, are met.

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