UK PM must not visit till farm laws scrapped: Farmers

Farmers want UK PM Boris Johnson to cancel visit till farm laws are scrapped

UK PM Boris Johnson will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebration next month

Farmers blocked both sides of the National Highway at Ghazipur border during their protest against the new farm laws. Credit: PTI Photo

Stepping up pressure on the government, agitating farmers on Tuesday decided to write to British MPs to stall Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to India next month till the farm sector laws are scrapped.

The farmers also did not appear to be in a hurry to respond to the Modi government’s letter asking them to specify a date for the next round of talks, saying they would decide on it at a meeting on Wednesday.

Farmers blocked traffic at the Ghazipur and Noida borders, accusing the Uttar Pradesh Police of stopping their supporters at various places in the state from marching towards the national capital.

The British Prime Minister will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebration next month.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar continued to receive delegations of farmers expressing support to the farm sector reforms, a move seen as an attempt by the government to portray that its initiative has run into Opposition from a particular group.

“Representatives of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Noida and Indian Kisan Union, New Delhi met me and submitted a memorandum supporting the farm reform laws,” Tomar said.

The Centre had sent a letter to the agitating farmers on Sunday seeking clarity on their demands and asking them to convey a date for the next round of talks.

The farmers said the government was disinterested in addressing their demands and cherry-picking on various issues flagged by them during the six rounds of talks.

The 32 farmer unions from Punjab held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the future course of action.

“A meeting of farmer leaders from across India would be held on Wednesday where a decision on the government's offer will be taken,” Kulwant Singh Sandhu, a farmer leader told reporters at the Singhu border, the epicentre of the agitation.

Sandhu said that the farmers have decided to intensify the agitation against new farm laws and make toll plazas in Haryana's highways free from December 25 to December 27.

Unions affiliated to All India Trade Union Congress have announced that they would skip lunch on Wednesday to express solidarity with the relay hunger strike of farmers against the three contentious farm laws.