New Delhi, Feb 3 : Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday said instead of taking on the farmers, the Centre should resolve the problems through negotiations and revoke the three contentious farm laws.
While participating in the discussion on the motion of thanks on the President’s address in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Azad said that the dispute would not have arisen had these three laws been sent to the Select Committee.
Criticising the violence that shook the National Capital on the Republic Day, he said, “We condemn the violence that took place on January 26th and call for strict punishment to the culprits. But would like to add that people who were not involved in the incident should not be implicated.”
Describing the violence as against democracy and law and order, the erstwhile J&K chief minister said the Opposition strongly condemns the incident. He said that insult to the national flag will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Demanding immediate withdrawal of sedition charges against some senior journalists and Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor, he wondered how can a person who was the minister of state for external affairs be a traitor? Some of the editors involved in the case play an important role in keeping democracy alive. The government faces many economic and many big challenges that must be addressed first.
He said that the struggle of farmers has been going on since the British era and all governments had to eventually withdraw the anti-farmer laws. He paid tributes to the 175 farmers who were martyred during the ongoing farmers movement and said that farmers have been struggling for hundreds of years.
In 1906, the English Government had enacted three laws against the farmers and their ownership was taken away, the Congress leader said. There was a similar movement in Punjab in 1907 under the leadership of Ajit Singh, brother of Sardar Bhagat Singh and the support of Lala Lajpat Rai. Some amendments were made to the law in the wake of the farmers’ agitation, which enraged the people who ensured that the laws were withdrawn.
In 1917, Mahatma Gandhi led the ‘Champaran Satyagraha’ against indigo cultivation. Later, the
English Government had to succumb to the pressure and stop indigo cultivation. He said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel led the entire movement on taxation of farmers in Gujarat in 1918. Later, this tax was abolished.
Similarly, there was a movement against taxation in 1928 and wherein the farmers’ lands were returned and the tax rate was reduced from 22 per cent to 6.03 per cent.
Farmers are an indispensable lot, Mr Azad asserted. They are not only the provider of food to 130 crore people but to the entire world, the Congress leaders added.