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Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints

Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

In late September, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to three "Farm Laws", or the "Agriculture Bills" which went on to shake the world's largest democracy to its core as farmers feared these laws could impact their livelihood - one that is often termed the largest source of livelihoods in India. As much as 70 percent of the country's rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood.

Farmers set out for the capital New Delhi on November 26 with a slogan – "Delhi Chalo" which translates to "Let's go to Delhi". A lot has changed since then, but what hasn't changed - the perseverance of farmers to protect their interests and the farm laws themselves - is catalyzing a change in India that reminds its citizens of the power of their voice and reflects on the global sentiment of change after the last couple of years saw massive protests in every corner of the world. In the Live Discourse, we aim to accumulate all perspectives on the farm laws and the fallout that followed, to help readers get a better sense of what's next for the sector that is the largest source of livelihood in India.

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Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints - Police to take a month's time to resolve cases filed on farmers on May 16: Tikait

India | Devdiscourse News Desk
Updated: 25-05-2021 12:32 IST Created: 30-01-2021 09:03 IST

0:32 PM The Haryana Police has asked for a month's time for the legal process and resolution for all the cases that were filed on or around May 16, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait informed on Monday, news agency ANI reported."During the meeting with the Inspector General, Deputy IG, Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, they have asked for a month's time for legal process and resolution of all the cases on or around May 16," Tikait told ANI.Violence broke out on May 16 after a group of farmers, protesting against the centre's farm laws, attempted to march towards a venue where Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was to inaugurate a Covid-19 hospital. To stop and disperse the farmers, police used tear gas shells. Following this, an altercation occurred between the police and farmers.Advertisement The BKU farmer further said that large gatherings of protestors and police amid the COVID-19 pandemic was the fault of the Central government. "Our (May 16) agitation was against the Haryana government. It is definitely the victory of farmers. The government should have met our leaders. The administration has called 25,000 farmers and deployed 5,000 police personnel. This is the government's responsibility. The agitation will go on," he said.Farmers gathered in large numbers amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Hisar earlier today to protest police action against them for the clash on May 16.

0:23 PM Farmers gathered in large numbers in Hisar on Monday to protest the police action against them for clashing with police earlier this month, news agency ANI reported. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait was among the huge group, which gathered to protest and demand legal action against Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Hisar and other officials who allegedly lathi charged them and filed FIRs against hundreds of farmers after a clash between farmers and police on May 16.District administration stepped up security in the area after the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) called to intensify protests from May 26, which marks six months of protests of farmers against the three central agricultural laws. Amid a statewide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, the farmers marched from Krantiman Park towards the Commissioner's Office.Advertisement Violence broke out on May 16 after a group of farmers, protesting against the farm laws, attempted to tried to march towards a venue where Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was to inaugurate a Covid-19 hospital. To stop and disperse the farmers, police used tear gas shells. Following this, an altercation occurred between police and farmers. The farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the farm laws passed by the Centre.

11:34 AM Punjab farmers in large numbers are marching towards Delhi borders, said state BKU leaders in the wake of a call given to observe May 26 as a ''black day'' to mark six months of the agitation against the Centre's farm laws, news agency ANI reported. Farmers are protesting at Delhi's Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders since late November, demanding the repeal of the laws, which the Union government claimed is for their benefit.No talks have been held over the issue between the Centre and the agitating farmers since January 22.Farmer bodies have appealed to all sections, including labourers, employees and traders to raise black flags at their homes, shops and industrial units against the Centre's laws.''A large number of farmers are heading towards Delhi borders,'' Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) senior leader Shingara Singh said on Monday. The farmers heading to Delhi borders are from several Punjab districts such as Sangrur, Patiala, Mansa, Bathinda, Moga, Gurdaspur, Faridkot and Fazilka districts, said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, a leader of the BKU (Ekta-Dakaunda) Besides elderly, youth and women, along with essentials in vehicles, are going to the Tikri and Singhu borders, said, farmers."Every Sunday, farmers from all districts in the state will go towards Delhi borders. After a week, a new group will replace them," said BKU leader Shingara Singh, adding that there is anger against the Union government for not acceding to their demands.

1:13 PM Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said farmer unions were ready to resume talks with the Centre, asserting that the discussion would have to be about repealing the new farm laws, news agency PTI reported. He said there is no question of farmers returning home from the protest sites unless their demands are met.Tikait was interacting with reporters in Mohali, where he had gone to offer condolences to the family of Abhay Singh Sandhu. Sandhu, the nephew of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, died recently due to post-COVID complications.''When the government wants to talk, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha will talk," Tikait said, asserting that it has to be about repealing the Centre's new farm laws.Tikait said May 26 will mark six months of the farmers' protest at Delhi borders.''For six months, farmers have been protesting at border points, but the government is not listening," he said.

1:09 PM Scores of farmers from Karnal in Haryana on Sunday left for Tikri on the state's border with Delhi and the site where farmers have been sitting in protest since last November, demanding a repeal of the Centre's three agricultural laws, news agency ANI reported."We're headed with thousands of vehicles from Karnal. Every week we will take people from one district to the protest site in order to maintain gathering there," Gurnam Singh, President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union said."We are doing this to show the government that we are still awake and our protest has not lost steam," Singh added. When asked about the prudence of continuing with the Speaking protest even in the midst of a virulent COVID-19 wave, the farmer leader said that the government was using the pretext of the pandemic to hide its incompetence. He said if the government was so concerned about preventing the spread of the infection why was there no oxygen and beds in hospitals.On May 20, a large convoy of farmers from Punjab's Taran Taran left for several Delhi border points to strengthen the ongoing protest.

0:40 PM Twelve major opposition parties have extended their support to the call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to observe a countrywide protest on May 26, marking six months of the farmers' protest at Delhi borders against the Centre's farm laws, news agency PTI reported. The joint statement has been signed by Sonia Gandhi (Congress), H D Deve Gowda (JD-S), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Uddhav Thackeray (SS), M K Stalin (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Farooq Abdullah (JKPA), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Tejaswi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M). "On May 12, we had jointly written to Prime Minister Modi saying the following: Repeal farm laws to protect lakhs of our annadatas becoming victims of the pandemic so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people"."We demand the immediate repeal of the farm laws and the legal entitlement to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of C2+50 per cent as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission," the joint statement said.It also said that the Central Government must stop being obdurate and immediately resume talks with the SKM on these lines.

11:28 AM Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal on Saturday blamed the Union government for not resuming talks, claiming that farmers never denied having a dialogue over the central farm laws, news agency PTI reported. “No meeting has been called by the central government after January 22. The way ahead for talks has been stopped from the government side. We never refused to hold talks,” said Rajewal while addressing the media.He added a letter has also been written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for resumption of talks and they seek "a constructive and positive response" from the government by May 25.Rajewal further said a national convention of all farmers' bodies would be organized to further intensify their struggle. A date in this regard, however, could not be finalized because of the COVID-19 pandemic.The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 protesting farmer unions and which is spearheading the protests, on Friday had written to the prime minister, urging resumption of talks over the three farm laws they have been agitating against at Delhi borders since November last year.Several rounds of talks between farmers and the government have failed to break the deadlock over the three central laws.

0:35 PM The Haryana police have registered a case against 350 unnamed farmers for allegedly attacking government employees and stone-pelting during the protest against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who had inaugurated a COVID hospital here last week, news agency PTI reported.The case has been registered on the complaint of Inspector Virendra Kumar, in-charge of Urban Estate Police Station, police said on Thursday.The case has been registered under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 188 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code, a district police spokesperson said.Twenty policemen, including five women officials, were injured in the clash between the farmers and the police on Sunday, officials said.The police had lobbed tear gas shells and used force to disperse a group of farmers who tried to march towards the venue where Khattar had gone to inaugurate the COVID hospital on May 16.The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers' unions spearheading the stir against the farm laws, in a statement had condemned the alleged assault on the protesters.

0:25 PM Farmers at the borders of New Delhi are seeking help on social media after heavy rains damaged their makeshift shelters, forcing them to take shelter in waterlogged tents, wet mattresses, and damaged tarpaulins.An Instagram user named 'Parvez Singh' shared a video reportedly from Shahjahanpur border where tents seemed blown due to heavy winds and rain. The user asked for help with tarpaulins and rope. View this post on InstagramA post shared by Parvez Singh Aulakh (@parvezsingh11)Another Instagram user named 'Swaiman Singh', who is also a practicing doctor at Tikri border shared a video asking for help with plywood beds, as rain caused heavy damage at the protest site.View this post on InstagramA post shared by Swaiman Singh Cardiac Punjab (@dr_swaiman_singh)While another Twitter user named 'Jasveer Singh Muktsar' shared destructive images purportedly from Singhu where farmers' settlement seemed drowned in waterlogged at the site.Farmers' tents damaged by heavy rains.Pictures from Singhu Kundli Border Delhi.#FarmersProtestpic.twitter.com/GoCgqEh5CH — JasveerSingh Muktsar (@jasveermuktsar) May 20, 2021Farmers' own newspaper 'Trolley Times' updated about damaged tents and wet mattresses at Ghazipur border in its Instagram account named 'Trolley Times (official page)'.View this post on InstagramA post shared by Trolley Times (official page) (@trolley_times_official)While another Instagram user named 'Jaspreetdyora' shared a post with images seeking milk supply at Ghazipur border.View this post on InstagramA post shared by ਜਸਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਦਯੋਰਾ | Jaspreet Dyora (@jaspreetdyora)

3:29 PM With spells of rain in the national capital adding to the woes of farmers camping on the borders of Delhi, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Wednesday warned the central government to ''not test their patience, initiate the dialogue and accept the demands'', news agency PTI reported.''... More than 470 farmers have been martyred in the farmers' movement. Many agitators have had to leave their jobs, education, and other work. The government's attitude meanwhile shows how inhuman and careless it is towards its own citizens, the 'anna daatas'. If the government cares about its farmers and wants their welfare, then it should initiate dialogue with the farmers and accept their demands,'' the SKM said in a statement, warning the government to ''not test the patience of farmers''.So far, there have been 11 rounds of talks between the protesting unions and the government, but the deadlock has continued as both sides have stuck to their stand.

Police to take a month's time to resolve cases filed on farmers on May 16: Tikait

Police to take a month's time to resolve cases filed on farmers on May 16: Tikait

The Haryana Police has asked for a month's time for the legal process and resolution for all the cases that were filed on or around May 16, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait informed on Monday, news agency ANI reported.

"During the meeting with the Inspector General, Deputy IG, Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, they have asked for a month's time for legal process and resolution of all the cases on or around May 16," Tikait told ANI.

Violence broke out on May 16 after a group of farmers, protesting against the centre's farm laws, attempted to march towards a venue where Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was to inaugurate a Covid-19 hospital. To stop and disperse the farmers, police used tear gas shells. Following this, an altercation occurred between the police and farmers.

Advertisement The BKU farmer further said that large gatherings of protestors and police amid the COVID-19 pandemic was the fault of the Central government. "Our (May 16) agitation was against the Haryana government. It is definitely the victory of farmers. The government should have met our leaders. The administration has called 25,000 farmers and deployed 5,000 police personnel. This is the government's responsibility. The agitation will go on," he said.

Farmers gathered in large numbers amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Hisar earlier today to protest police action against them for the clash on May 16. 

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Farmers gathered in large numbers amid COVID-19 to protest against clash in Hisar

Farmers gathered in large numbers amid COVID-19 to protest against clash in Hisar

Farmers gathered in large numbers in Hisar on Monday to protest the police action against them for clashing with police earlier this month, news agency ANI reported. 

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait was among the huge group, which gathered to protest and demand legal action against Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Hisar and other officials who allegedly lathi charged them and filed FIRs against hundreds of farmers after a clash between farmers and police on May 16.

District administration stepped up security in the area after the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) called to intensify protests from May 26, which marks six months of protests of farmers against the three central agricultural laws. Amid a statewide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, the farmers marched from Krantiman Park towards the Commissioner's Office.

Advertisement Violence broke out on May 16 after a group of farmers, protesting against the farm laws, attempted to tried to march towards a venue where Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was to inaugurate a Covid-19 hospital. To stop and disperse the farmers, police used tear gas shells. Following this, an altercation occurred between police and farmers. The farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the farm laws passed by the Centre.

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Punjab: Farmers march towards borders to observe 'black day' on May 26

Punjab: Farmers march towards borders to observe 'black day' on May 26

Punjab farmers in large numbers are marching towards Delhi borders, said state BKU leaders in the wake of a call given to observe May 26 as a ''black day'' to mark six months of the agitation against the Centre's farm laws, news agency ANI reported. 

Farmers are protesting at Delhi's Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders since late November, demanding the repeal of the laws, which the Union government claimed is for their benefit.

No talks have been held over the issue between the Centre and the agitating farmers since January 22.

Farmer bodies have appealed to all sections, including labourers, employees and traders to raise black flags at their homes, shops and industrial units against the Centre's laws.

''A large number of farmers are heading towards Delhi borders,'' Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) senior leader Shingara Singh said on Monday. The farmers heading to Delhi borders are from several Punjab districts such as Sangrur, Patiala, Mansa, Bathinda, Moga, Gurdaspur, Faridkot and Fazilka districts, said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, a leader of the BKU (Ekta-Dakaunda) Besides elderly, youth and women, along with essentials in vehicles, are going to the Tikri and Singhu borders, said, farmers.

"Every Sunday, farmers from all districts in the state will go towards Delhi borders. After a week, a new group will replace them," said BKU leader Shingara Singh, adding that there is anger against the Union government for not acceding to their demands.

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Tikait reiterates demand to repeal farm laws, says ready to talk with Centre

Tikait reiterates demand to repeal farm laws, says ready to talk with Centre

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday said farmer unions were ready to resume talks with the Centre, asserting that the discussion would have to be about repealing the new farm laws, news agency PTI reported. 

He said there is no question of farmers returning home from the protest sites unless their demands are met.

Tikait was interacting with reporters in Mohali, where he had gone to offer condolences to the family of Abhay Singh Sandhu. Sandhu, the nephew of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, died recently due to post-COVID complications.

''When the government wants to talk, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha will talk," Tikait said, asserting that it has to be about repealing the Centre's new farm laws.

Tikait said May 26 will mark six months of the farmers' protest at Delhi borders.

''For six months, farmers have been protesting at border points, but the government is not listening," he said.

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Farmers from Haryana's Karnal leave for Tikri border

Farmers from Haryana's Karnal leave for Tikri border

Scores of farmers from Karnal in Haryana on Sunday left for Tikri on the state's border with Delhi and the site where farmers have been sitting in protest since last November, demanding a repeal of the Centre's three agricultural laws, news agency ANI reported.

"We're headed with thousands of vehicles from Karnal. Every week we will take people from one district to the protest site in order to maintain gathering there," Gurnam Singh, President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union said.

"We are doing this to show the government that we are still awake and our protest has not lost steam," Singh added. When asked about the prudence of continuing with the Speaking protest even in the midst of a virulent COVID-19 wave, the farmer leader said that the government was using the pretext of the pandemic to hide its incompetence. He said if the government was so concerned about preventing the spread of the infection why was there no oxygen and beds in hospitals.

On May 20, a large convoy of farmers from Punjab's Taran Taran left for several Delhi border points to strengthen the ongoing protest.

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Political parties extend support to countrywide protest against farm laws on May 26

Political parties extend support to countrywide protest against farm laws on May 26

Twelve major opposition parties have extended their support to the call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to observe a countrywide protest on May 26, marking six months of the farmers' protest at Delhi borders against the Centre's farm laws, news agency PTI reported. 

The joint statement has been signed by Sonia Gandhi (Congress), H D Deve Gowda (JD-S), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Uddhav Thackeray (SS), M K Stalin (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Farooq Abdullah (JKPA), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Tejaswi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M). "On May 12, we had jointly written to Prime Minister Modi saying the following: Repeal farm laws to protect lakhs of our annadatas becoming victims of the pandemic so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people".

"We demand the immediate repeal of the farm laws and the legal entitlement to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of C2+50 per cent as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission," the joint statement said.

It also said that the Central Government must stop being obdurate and immediately resume talks with the SKM on these lines.

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We never refused to hold talks: Farmer leaders blame Centre for not resuming dialogue

We never refused to hold talks: Farmer leaders blame Centre for not resuming dialogue

Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal on Saturday blamed the Union government for not resuming talks, claiming that farmers never denied having a dialogue over the central farm laws, news agency PTI reported. 

“No meeting has been called by the central government after January 22. The way ahead for talks has been stopped from the government side. We never refused to hold talks,” said Rajewal while addressing the media.

He added a letter has also been written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for resumption of talks and they seek "a constructive and positive response" from the government by May 25.

Rajewal further said a national convention of all farmers' bodies would be organized to further intensify their struggle. A date in this regard, however, could not be finalized because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 protesting farmer unions and which is spearheading the protests, on Friday had written to the prime minister, urging resumption of talks over the three farm laws they have been agitating against at Delhi borders since November last year.

Several rounds of talks between farmers and the government have failed to break the deadlock over the three central laws.

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Farmers Protest: Police lodges FIR against 350 unnamed farmers over Hisar incident

Farmers Protest: Police lodges FIR against 350 unnamed farmers over Hisar incident

The Haryana police have registered a case against 350 unnamed farmers for allegedly attacking government employees and stone-pelting during the protest against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who had inaugurated a COVID hospital here last week, news agency PTI reported.

The case has been registered on the complaint of Inspector Virendra Kumar, in-charge of Urban Estate Police Station, police said on Thursday.

The case has been registered under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 188 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code, a district police spokesperson said.

Twenty policemen, including five women officials, were injured in the clash between the farmers and the police on Sunday, officials said.

The police had lobbed tear gas shells and used force to disperse a group of farmers who tried to march towards the venue where Khattar had gone to inaugurate the COVID hospital on May 16.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmers' unions spearheading the stir against the farm laws, in a statement had condemned the alleged assault on the protesters.

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Farmers turn to social media for help as heavy rains damage shelters at protest sites

Farmers at the borders of New Delhi are seeking help on social media after heavy rains damaged their makeshift shelters, forcing them to take shelter in waterlogged tents, wet mattresses, and damaged tarpaulins.

An Instagram user named 'Parvez Singh' shared a video reportedly from Shahjahanpur border where tents seemed blown due to heavy winds and rain. The user asked for help with tarpaulins and rope. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Parvez Singh Aulakh (@parvezsingh11)

Another Instagram user named 'Swaiman Singh', who is also a practicing doctor at Tikri border shared a video asking for help with plywood beds, as rain caused heavy damage at the protest site.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Swaiman Singh Cardiac Punjab (@dr_swaiman_singh)

While another Twitter user named 'Jasveer Singh Muktsar' shared destructive images purportedly from Singhu where farmers' settlement seemed drowned in waterlogged at the site.

Farmers' own newspaper 'Trolley Times' updated about damaged tents and wet mattresses at Ghazipur border in its Instagram account named 'Trolley Times (official page)'.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Trolley Times (official page) (@trolley_times_official)

While another Instagram user named 'Jaspreetdyora' shared a post with images seeking milk supply at Ghazipur border.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ਜਸਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਦਯੋਰਾ | Jaspreet Dyora (@jaspreetdyora)

 

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SKM reiterates demands, seeks talks with center

SKM reiterates demands, seeks talks with center

With spells of rain in the national capital adding to the woes of farmers camping on the borders of Delhi, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Wednesday warned the central government to ''not test their patience, initiate the dialogue and accept the demands'', news agency PTI reported.

''... More than 470 farmers have been martyred in the farmers' movement. Many agitators have had to leave their jobs, education, and other work. The government's attitude meanwhile shows how inhuman and careless it is towards its own citizens, the 'anna daatas'. If the government cares about its farmers and wants their welfare, then it should initiate dialogue with the farmers and accept their demands,'' the SKM said in a statement, warning the government to ''not test the patience of farmers''.

So far, there have been 11 rounds of talks between the protesting unions and the government, but the deadlock has continued as both sides have stuck to their stand.

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