Monday, December 6, 2021

Govt must tackle and resolve farmers’ protest issue fast

TOWNPOST EDITORIAL

The farmers’ protests against the three central farm legislations have dangerous connotations for future. The facts that are coming to the fore now point out to a sinister political game being played in the name of farmers’ protests.

It is true that most of the farmers participating in the protests may be gullible and may have been misled by misinterpretation of the three farm legislations. There is no doubt that they have a right to protest against any legislation, whatever be their understanding, wrong or right. Democracy gives them the right to protest against any legislation. However, the fact that anti-national forces and pro-Khalistan elements see this as an opportunity to pursue their agenda and create unrest in the country is quite alarming.

It is quite obvious that several lobbies are unhappy at the way the centre has tried to protect the farmers from the nexus of powerful middlemen and cartels dominating the APMC Mandis. There are many forces that would be unhappy with the farm laws for the simple reason that these laws are going to hurt their interests.

The central government, and even the Prime Minister himself, have assured the farmers that the role of APMC Mandis will continue in the same manner. The farm laws only give the farmers an additional option to even go out of the Mandis and try to get a higher price, if possible, without mandatory fees and cuts. The MSP and the option of exercising the right of selling the produce at Mandis at MSP would remain as they are.

The three farm laws are well-intentioned and it is hard to find fault with these from a farmer’s perspective. This is the reason why farmers of most of the states are happy with these laws.

However, there are forces which are fomenting discontent among the farmers of Punjab based on false projections and future predictions. They tell the farmers that the government intends to do away with the APMC Mandis completely as well as MSP system.

There does seem to be a communication gap between the union government and the farmers’ bodies. And some protests from farmers would not be out of place to keep the government alert and force it to self-examine its own functioning.

However, the extraneous factors influencing the farmers’ protest have an alarming angle. Anti-national forces influencing and guiding the protest would have far-reaching impact on the national interest.

It is good that the government has offered to talk to the farmers. Early discussion would help the government resolve the issue. This protest needs to be tackled and ended fast. Mainly, because outside forces are looking for an opportunity to create trouble in the country. Punjab is a volatile state and too important for the country’s security.

The government cannot afford to let the protests take an ugly turn. Farmers evoke a lot of sympathy in the country and inimical forces may try to misuse and misdirect this protest taking advantage of the sympathy the word ‘farmer’ evokes among the masses.

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