Indian farmers opposed reforms which, according to them, threaten their livelihoods. Today, they pushed against the changes with nationwide protests, as it was this day a year ago when the laws on the liberalisation of the sector were introduced.
For 10 months, tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on major highways around New Delhi to oppose the laws in the longest-running growers’ protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government. In Noida, a New Delhi satellite town, farmers confronted police and pushed past them to break through barricades. In Gurgaon farmers thronged onto a road and blocked traffic, while protesters stormed into a railway station in the northern outskirts of New Delhi, according to witnesses.
This month, more than 500,000 farmers attended a rally in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, the biggest yet in the protest campaign, to step up pressure on Modi’s administration to repeal the laws, as The Kathmandu Post reports.
The legislation, introduced in September last year, deregulates the agriculture sector and allows farmers to sell products to buyers beyond government-regulated wholesale markets, where growers are assured of a minimum price. Small farmers say the changes make them vulnerable to competition from big businesses. To date, nearly a dozen opposition parties have already supported the farmers’ protest to repeal the laws.