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Indian farmers reject government new offer, vow to continue protest

by Mustapha Olamide
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Farmer unions in India reject the newest moves by the govt to amend controversial new laws that have sparked protests.

Farmers are protesting for quite fortnight against new laws which will deregulate crop pricing

Indian farmer unions have rejected the newest proposal by the govt to amend controversial new farm laws and have warned they’re going to intensify their protests if their demands aren’t met.

The warning on Wednesday came just hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government sent a written proposal to farmer unions, laying out a series of amendments including written assurances for Minimum Support Price (MSP), one among the key demands of protesting farmers.

India’s Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar also said during a tweet on Wednesday the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Mandis – a government-regulated agriculture market system – won’t be dismantled.

But the farmers rejected the proposals outright and called them an “insult”.

“We have unanimously rejected the government’s proposal. It’s nowhere on the brink of what we’ve been demanding. this is often an insult to us,” farmer leader Jagmohan Singh told Al Jazeera over the phone from the Singhu border.

“Our demand is complete revocation of the three laws. We don’t want amendments,” he said.

Farmers say the three farm laws gone by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which deregulate crop pricing, will hurt their livelihoods and can only benefit large corporations.

The farmer unions have involved countrywide protests on Monday and have threatened to dam the New Delhi-Jaipur and New Delhi-Agra highways on Saturday.

“If the govt doesn’t accept our demands, we’ll intensify our protest and can block more highways resulting in the capital city,” Singh added.

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