Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of repealing farm laws as “much delayed but welcome step” and also promised to construct a memorial in the name of farmers’ agitation in the state. Modi on Friday announced that the government has decided to repeal the three farm laws, which were at the centre of protests by farmers for the past year.
Channi said had Modi taken this decision much earlier, several precious lives would have been saved. Blaming the Centre for “thrusting these black farm laws arbitrarily” on the farmers, Channi said, “The BJP-led central government should admit on record to have made an Himalayan blunder in bringing these bills for which it hardly bothered to even relent for the past one and half years.” Farmer leaders claimed that nearly 700 farmers lost their lives during the agitation against the Centre’s farm laws.
The chief minister said that now when the prime minister has announced to withdraw these “draconian” farm laws, he should compensate the farmers adequately for the “humongous losses of life and property suffered by them”. Likewise, he also sought compensation for the state on account of financial and property losses during the ‘Kisan Morcha’.
“It is a victory of farmers’ agitation,” said Channi while referring to Modi’s statement. Channi also sought enactment of a law to guarantee the minimum support price for crops.
He said the state government has been giving jobs to the victim families of farmers, besides financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the farmers, who sacrificed lives during the agitation. He also said a memorial in the name of farmers’ agitation will be set up in Punjab.
After Independence, if there was any big struggle, it was this which strengthened the democratic system in the country, he said. Channi also demanded that the Centre withdraw the notification which increased the BSF jurisdiction from 15 km to 50.
Slamming Akali and the BJP leadership over the farm laws, the chief minister asked them “with which face” they will go to the people. Channi alleged that the nexus of the Akali-BJP and even former chief minister Amarinder Singh made “all out efforts to weaken the farm movement but in the end it’s victory of good over evil.” He said his government has been opposing these laws tooth and nail from day one.
Earlier in the day, Channi in a tweet said it was “a victory of the longest peaceful struggle” of farmers. “Decision to repeal 3 black farm laws is victory of longest peaceful people’s struggle that was started by farmers in Punjab. My salute to the Annadata, said Channi in a tweet.