The Supreme Court is to hear the matter next on January 11. Agriculture minister NS Tomar told farmer leaders that only the apex court had the right to analyse laws passed by Parliament and that everyone should stand committed to it.
“SC should not interfere in the matter as these laws are simply not about the constitutional validity but also about the future of the farmers, and these laws are a death warrant for the farmers. We never went to the SC in the matter, and the government has managed the petition which was filed there to end our protest,” senior farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said after the meeting with the government on Friday.
Farmer leaders Darshan Pal, Kulwant Sandhu and Ruldu Singh Mansa said the farmers would not end the agitation even if the court’s decision were to go against them. “The ministers said come to SC on January 11 and they will request daily hearings. The case there is about removing us from the protest sites. We will not go from here or end our agitation even if the SC decision is adverse for us,” said Sandhu.
Farmer leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan said the farmers had nothing to do with the SC case and had never gone to the court with any petition, accusing the government “of playing games which the farmers did not want to be part of”. Farmer leaders were also upset with the government’s claims that a majority of farmer unions and states were in favour of the farm laws and so they could not be repealed. The ministers were nearly 40 minutes late for the meeting, further upsetting the farmers who refused to have lunch or tea and stayed silent for most of the meeting.
“The PM is worried about what is happening in the USA but not saying a word about 70 farmers who have died here during protests,” said Jagjit Singh Dallewal said. Farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said they had told the ministers on Friday to “shoot us if you want to and keep the farmers who are in the favour of laws”. Farmer leaders said they would expose such “dummy farmers” in the coming days.