Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann has stepped down from the Supreme Court-appointed committee to look into the Centre’s contentious farm laws, saying he did not wish to “compromise farmers’ interests”. His decision came a day ahead of the next round of talks between the government and the farmers. The matter will now go back to the court for further orders.
Mr Mann was part of the four-member committee formed by the top court on Tuesday to begin a dialogue with the farmers and the government and suggest a solution to the 50-day protest continuing on the borders of the national capital.
Farmers’ groups, however, had rejected the committee, saying their members were already in favour of farm laws and accused the government of engineering the issue.
“We don’t accept this committee, all the members in this committee have been pro-government and these members have been justifying the laws,” Punjab farmers’ unions said on Tuesday evening.
Mr Mann was part of a group of farmers that met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar in December, to express their support for the new laws. Farmers unions sitting on protest at Delhi’s Singhu border have dismissed such groups, saying they were not the ones suffering the fallout of the new laws.
A statement from Mr Mann today read: “As a farmer myself and a Union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as not to compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country. I am recusing from the committee”.
“I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” the statement added.