NEW DELHI (AP) — Talks between the Indian government and representatives of tens of thousands of protesting farmers remained deadlocked Friday, with the government refusing to scrap new agricultural reform laws which the farmers say will benefit large corporations.
The farmers will continue their nearly 2-month blockade of highways connecting the capital with the country’s north and threatened to intensify the protest by organizing a massive tractor rally in New Delhi during Republic Day celebrations on Jan. 26, said Rakesh Tikait, a farmer leader.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said there was “no decisive turn’’ during Friday’s ninth round of talks, and the two sides agreed to meet again next Tuesday.
Hannan Mollah and some other farmer leaders said the government is hoping the farmers will get tired and return home.
Farmers say they can’t accept anything except the repeal of the three new laws.
They fear the government will stop buying grain at minimum guaranteed prices under the new laws and that corporations will then push prices down. The government said it is willing to pledge that guaranteed prices will continue.
On Tuesday, India’s Supreme Court temporarily delayed the implementation of the laws and appointed a four-member panel to hear farmers’ objections.
Farmer leaders raised doubts about the panel’s composition and said they would not appear before it.