At a time when the farmers and the Centre are locked in an impasse over the three laws, intellectuals are also lending support to farmers, in their own way. Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) principal soil chemist Varinderpal Singh has objected to the varsity, sending an email to teachers to attend a programme, online, of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25. Modi was to address farmers and transfer money into their accounts. The varsity, incidentally, has been opposing the laws.
After refusing to receive a national award in Delhi earlier this month to express solidarity with the protesting farmers, he has now written an open letter to university vice-chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon.
“Maximum registrations should also be organised at campuses of all universities/institutes/KVKs inviting farmers, scientists, students and other stakeholders. Viewing of the program telecast/webcast should be arranged. This should be considered as top priority and a report should be compiled,” the email that Trilochan Mohapatra, director general, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), sent reads. Each individual had to click to the link with the mail,
Varinderpal said, “It is perhaps for the first time that attendance of students was made mandatory and even a report was compiled on this. The entire exercise has made my head hang in shame. Instead of listening to the lecture, as mute spectators authorities are duty-bound to highlight the flaws in the new laws.”
Varinderpal had refused an award that comprised Rs 2 lakh, a gold medal, and a citation. The video of his refusing to accept the award had gone viral. A few days later, the PAU V-C had submitted a report compiled by the economics department to the Punjab government, highlighting flaws in three farm laws. PAU additional director, communication, TS Riar said forwarding such communications on email was a routine matter.
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