Leaders of protesting Indian farmers on Thursday refused to accept tea or food offered by government during the fourth round of talks with government officials.
The meeting, which held at Vigyan Bhawan, was aimed at ending the ongoing protest by the farmers demanding government repeal of the country’s new agricultural laws.
Before the meeting, Narendra Tomar, Minister of Agriculture, while talking to the media, had said he hoped that the fourth round of dialogue would bring some positive outcome to the farmers’ issues.
“Government is constantly discussing issues with farmers. Today is the fourth round of talks and I’m hoping for a positive outcome,” said Tomar.
The meeting, which commenced in the morning had broken for lunch.
“One farmer asked the staff at Vigyan Bhawan if there was a canteen here. When we told him that there was food prepared and ready for you he said will not eat the food and tea of the government,” a Vigyan Bhavan staffer told ANI.
Farmers then ordered in food from the gurudwara ‘langar’ in Vigyan Bhawan.
Earlier on Dec. 1, during a round of talks with the minister and other leaders, the farmers had similarly refused the tea offer from the government.
The aggrieved farmers had insisted that they had come to demand their right from the government and not to drink tea.
At the Thursday talks with representatives of farmers, Tomar, alongside his counterparts of Railways, Commerce and Food and Commerce, represented the government.
The government had held the third round of talks with farmer representatives on Tuesday.
During the talks, the government had offered to set up a committee, which the farmers’ unions rejected.
The farmers had instead demanded a special session of Parliament to repeal what they have called “black laws” made to favour corporate bodies.
The farmers said they would continue their protest till their issues were resolved.
They warned that Thursday’s talks were the “last chance” for the government to take a decision on the laws.
“Thursday is the last chance for the government to take a decision to repeal the laws.
“Otherwise, this movement will become huge and the government will fall,” Pratibha Shinde of the Lok Sangharsh Morcha said.
Two of the protesting farmers had died on Wednesday.
Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakhs each to the families of the deceased, who hailed from Mansa and Moga districts, respectively.
The farmers are protesting against The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020.
They are also protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.