Farmers in India have closed the country’s transport, shops and markets in protest of the new agricultural laws since the start of the national strike.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers blocked most of the roads in the capital Delhi for most of the day, protesting on railway lines and highways across the country and trying to pressure the government to repeal the new agricultural laws. It will leave them in poverty and at the mercy of corporations.
For more than a week, thousands of farmers, especially those from Punjab and Haryana, have been sitting on three main roads leading to the capital with police barricades until all three agricultural laws are enforced. Has been canceled and they have been assured of a minimum price for their crops. Last Friday, a meeting between farmers and the government lasted for seven hours but failed to end the stalemate.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi passed the laws in September, saying he would reform an old and outdated system and give farmers more control over the prices of their crops. However, the farmers started protesting saying that they have not been consulted and their livelihood has been ruined.
Agriculture employs more than 40% of India’s workforce but it is also an industry facing poverty, backwardness and hardship. India has the highest rate of farmer suicides in the world.
On Tuesday, more than 450 farmers’ unions and organizations supported the nationwide strike, deploying police across the country to quell the protests.
Kuldeep Malana, a 41-year-old farmer from Haryana’s Bint district on the Delhi border, used to travel every evening to get food supplies and to bring home anyone who fell ill during the protests.
“In the last 25 years, farmers have suffered and the government has not cared about us, even many people are committing suicide,” Malana said. “They have not provided cold storage to keep our crops fresh, so sometimes we have to sell our vegetables for Rs. 1,” he said. They have not given us enough water for our crops.
He added: “They haven’t thought about us for years, and all of a sudden their reforms come to fruition. Helping farmers is of no use and will only benefit big corporations. These laws are suicides for all of us.”
After the Home Minister, Amit Shah, agreed to meet the farmers’ leaders at his residence at 7 pm on Tuesday, Malana and other farmers declared the strike a success. “There is no middle ground. In today’s meeting, we will only ask the Home Minister to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. A meeting with the government is also scheduled for Wednesday to continue the farmers’ discussion.
Political tensions also escalated around the protests. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi has claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was placed under “house arrest” by the Delhi Police, which is under the federal jurisdiction of the Home Ministry, so that he could join it. To prevent Protest in support of farmers. “They did not let me go, but I was praying for the movement to succeed,” Kejriwal said.
Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh reiterated his support for the farmers and called on the central government to listen to their demands. “If I had been in their place, I would not have taken a minute to admit my mistake and repeal the rules,” Singh said.
Aminder Dutt, founder of the Katie Heritage Mission, a people’s movement for sustainable agriculture and food security in the state of Punjab, said the government had “severely decimated” farmers and that the protest was “the result of 40 years of wrath Disappointment over the broken system that bankrupted farmers, destroyed food security and created an environmental crisis in India.
Dutt said “an exemplary change” was needed to make India’s agricultural system sustainable, but that the new laws only reflected “a broken system that is responsible for farmer suicides in India”. Yes, it has plundered natural resources and poisoned India’s food and ecosystem. “
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