Demonstrating groups of Indian farmers held talks with government ministers on Tuesday as their protest against new agricultural laws entered its sixth day.
The farmers agreed to hold discussions after Indian Agriculture Minister, Narendra Tomar, decided to bring forward a meeting originally planned for Thursday due to the pandemic and cold weather.
Images broadcast on the state run Doordarshan channel showed farmer representatives in talks with senior ministers including Tomar and Rail Minister Piyush Goyal.
“We will also demand a law on minimum support price. If the government does not agree, the protests will continue,’’ farmer activist Jagjit Singh Dallewal told broadcaster NDTV ahead of the meeting.
A total of 35 farmer representatives were attending the meeting, he added.
Thousands of farmers have been camping out at Delhi’s border points since Thursday in protest against laws they say will impact their income, benefit big corporations and dismantle a procurement system that guarantees them minimum prices for their produce.
India’s federal government says the laws will increase farm productivity and free farmers from the clutches of middlemen.
At the meeting, the government will try to assure the farmers about the laws and dispel rumours over the minimum support price.
Citing political sources, NDTV reported that the protesters are likely to be told the laws will not be repealed.
Two protesters have reportedly died so far, one after suffering a heart attack and the other in a car accident since the farmers began their march to the Indian capital.