Indian government ready for talks with protesting farmers – minister

Women, including widows and relatives of farmers who were believed to have killed themselves over debt attend a protest against farm bills passed by India’s parliament, at Tikri border near Delhi, India, December 16, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Indian government is ready to hold further talks with farmers protesting for the repeal of agricultural reform laws, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been urging the farmers to engage in talks to end the deadlock over the three reform laws introduced in September but the farmers will not relent on their demands, saying the laws would hit them economically while benefiting big retailers.

“We assure our farmers that we’ll listen to them with an open mind,” Tomar told foreign journalists.

The protestors have blocked roads connecting New Delhi with the neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, obstructing public transport and the supply of fruit and vegetables.

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