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PM Modi Tells Farmers 'govt Just A Phone Call Away'; Urges Opposition To Talk To Unions

Reiterating the Centre's offer to stay the three Farm Laws for 1.5 years, PM Modi urged the Opposition parties to hold talks with the protesting farmers on it


Reiterating the Centre's offer to stay the three Farm Laws for 1.5 years, PM Modi urged the Opposition parties to hold talks with the protesting farmers on it, at the all-party meeting held on Saturday. He added that while the Centre and the Farm unions had not gotten to a consensus, the government was just a 'phone call away', report sources. Opposition parties, which had boycotted the President's address to Parliament protesting the Farm Laws, did attend the all-party meeting. Currently, farmers are protesting against the Centre's Farm Laws at Delhi's Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders for the 66th consecutive day.

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Farmer protest and violence

Despite Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM)'s assurance and Delhi Police's conditions for the Republic Day tractor march, violence broke out on January 26, as the farmers entered Delhi - breaking barricades and cemented barriers, riding bikes brandishing swords, sticks and vandalising a bus, drove tractors at full speed towards the police - leading to clashes with Delhi police. As teargas shells, lathicharge was used, police claimed that over 300 personnel were injured and one protestor died after a tractor upturned. The Delhi police have filed over 25 cases, several FIRs and arrested 19 people.

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The most shocking act was when a group of farmers allegedly led by actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu breached the Red Fort and hoisted the 'Nishan Sahib' and the Kisan Union flag atop the Red Fort's dome and the Khalsa flag on the flag pole. While the Indian tricolour remained hoisted atop the national monument, most parties have condemned the violence but questioned the Centre on the failure of Law and order in Delhi. This act led to several Kisan unions to withdraw from the protest and alleged Delhi locals stage a protest on city borders, against farmers. Top SKM leaders like Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal and Rakesh Tikait - who have been named in police's FIRs- have taken 'moral responsibility' for the violence but denied involvement in Red Fort plan as protests continue at Delhi borders.

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Centre-Farmer talks stall

After 11 rounds of Centre-farmer talks, the two parties failed to reach a middle ground on Friday after a five-hour meeting with the associations refusing to agree to the Centre's proposal for suspending the implementation of the aforesaid legislation for one and a half years. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar categorically said that the Union government is ready for another meeting only if the farmers want to discuss this proposal. The Supreme Court has stayed the three laws and constituted a 3-member panel to hold talks with farmers. While Centre has welcomed this move, farmers have refused to participate in it, insisting to talk only with the Centre.

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