Indian farmers mark a year of protest week after Modi’s climbdown
New Delhi, India – Tens of thousands of farmers are holding demonstrations across India to mark a year of their protest against three controversial farm laws, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that they will be repealed.
In a stunning U-turn ahead of crucial elections in key states, Modi last Friday said the laws would be rolled back when the Indian parliament meets later this month. Though the farmers’ unions welcomed the move, they decided not to end their protest until the laws are formally withdrawn.
Modi’s government had passed the three contentious laws in September 2020, saying they were aimed at “modernising” agriculture. The government claimed the legislation would benefit the farmers by increasing their income and giving them more choices when selling their produce.
But farmers’ unions said the laws would enable a few private corporations to control India’s vast agriculture sector and deny the growers a minimum support price (MSP) assured by the government for their produce.
On this day in November last year, hundreds of thousands of farmers – mostly from the grain belt states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – marched towards New Delhi to demand the repeal of the farm laws. When stopped from entering the national capital, they camped at three key highways leading to the city. Since then, they have not vacated the sites.
The farmers will demonstrate and hold tractor rallies and other events across the vast country on Friday, ignoring Modi’s appeal to them to return to their homes.
“Right now it’s nobody’s loss or win. But this government has moved towards negotiations now,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers Union) leader Rakesh Tikait told Al Jazeera earlier this week.
“The day this government comes to the table with a clean heart, that day we will find a solution.”
Source from: Bilal Kuchay(2021). Indian farmers mark a year of protest week after Modi’s climbdown. Retrieve from: ALJAZEERA(26 Nov, 2021). https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/26/india-farmers-protest-anniversary-farm-laws-modi