India — Thousands of Farmers Protest, Clash with Police

  • Farmer leaders say they have brought rations for the next several days and will not end their protest until the demands are met.
  • Farmers and police have also clashed at various places due to the blockade.
  • Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the central government was ready to negotiate with the farmers.

Farmers from several Indian states have been on strike on the border of the capital, New Delhi, for the past four days in opposition to the agricultural law introduced by the central government. Today is the fifth day of their movement. They marched on the capital in September with the slogan, “Let’s go to Delhi.”

Farmers protesting in India

They are presently in the thousands in different places. Farmer leaders say they have brought rations for the next several days and will not end their protest until the demands are met.

The government is preventing them from entering Delhi and the government says the new agriculture law is designed for their benefit.

Farmers and police have also clashed at various places due to the blockade. Water cannons and tear gas shells were used against farmers on the Haryana-Delhi border. Opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said in several tweets that farmers have the right to protest and the Congress is also opposing the law from parliament to the streets.

In the third week of September, the Indian Parliament introduced three agricultural bills, which were immediately passed and signed.

One is the “Agricultural Production Trade and Commerce Act 2020,” another is the “Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agricultural Services Act 2020,” which includes price assurances and agreements. The third law is the “Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.”

The first law provides for an ecosystem where farmers and traders will be free to sell their produce outside the market. Their provisions call for the promotion of trade within the state and between states, thereby reducing marketing and transportation costs.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agriculture Act 2020 provides a national framework on agricultural contracts. The bill empowers farmers to participate in the sale of agricultural products, farm services, agribusiness companies, processors, wholesalers, large retailers, and exporters.

Ensuring the supply of quality seeds, technical assistance and crop health monitoring will provide loan facilities and crop insurance to farmers who contract. Under the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, arrangements have been made to remove grains, pulses, edible oil, onions, and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.

The country is divided on these laws. Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that the reforms being made with these laws will be a turning point for the agriculture sector. On the other hand, the country’s opposition has termed these laws as anti-farmer and said that they would be a death knell for the farmers.

Farmers protesting in India

Farmers’ organizations in the country are also protesting against them, saying they are unfair and will exploit farmers. Pro-legal reform economists have partially welcomed them, but say the method of distorting the work is not correct and will not yield the expected results.

The farmers are demanding a peaceful demonstration at Delhi’s historic Ram Leela Maidan, while the government has asked them to move to the suburbs of Delhi so that talks can take place.

Farmers are protesting against the new agricultural laws on the Sanghu border of Delhi and Haryana. At the same time, amid tight security, farmers are continuing their protest on the border of Delhi, Ghazipur, UP, and Ghaziabad.

Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the central government was ready to negotiate with the farmers, but first they would have to come to Delhi’s Barari Maidan from Sanghu and Tekri borders.

According to PTI, a meeting of BJP leaders on the issue of farmers was held at the residence of party president JP Nanda on Sunday evening. There, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, and Agriculture Minister Render Singh Tomar met.

Earlier, Amit Shah had termed the farmers’ protest as apolitical, and said that the law was for the welfare of the farmers.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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