By Justice Markandey Katju
The Indian farmers agitation is going on with no end in sight.
The farmers have practically rejected the latest letter of the government inviting them for talks. Talks have been held earlier on several occasions, but with no outcome. The farmers insist that the 3 farmers laws be repealed, but the govt seem unwilling to do this, and has said it can only consider amendments. This is unacceptable to the farmers.
In this situation I submit the only via media solution is this :
- The govt announces withholding ( not repeal ) of implementation of the 3 laws.
- Simultaneously, the govt announces setting up of a Farmers Commission, consisting of representatives of the farmers organisations, govt representatives, and agricultural experts, to consider all aspects of the problems of the farmers. This Commission should hold several meetings ( maybe stretching over several months ), and then the consensus which emerges, and is agreeable to all sides, can be enacted as law.
- The farmers stop blocking roads ( though they may continue sitting by its side ).
This 3 point formula, stated above, should be acceptable to both sides. The govt will have a face saving device, and can say that the laws have not been repealed, while the farmers can declare that the laws are not being implemented. This will be a partial success, and thus a partial win-win solution for both sides.
In a dispute often both sides have to bend a bit to achieve a meeting point, and being too rigid and obdurate is not likely to lead to a successful resolution.
I have suggested the above formula for resolving the deadlock to Mr Rakesh Tikait, one of the leaders of the farmers agitation, and he said he will convey it to the Coordination Committee of 40 farmers organisations ( of which he is a member ) which is spearheading the farmers movement. However, I have not heard from him thereafter.
In this situation it is respectfully submitted that the Prime Minister should display statesmanship, and make the announcements abovementioned. Failure to do so may have unpredictable consequences, too gloomy to contemplate.