What Prompted the Farm Protests in India? (Published 2021)
Agriculture ministers have been protesting for more than a year and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now agreed to their demands, stating that his administration will abolish farm regulations that were imposed by his predecessor to reform the country’s agricultural industry. Nobody disputed that India’s former system, which pushed farmers to produce an enormous excess of grains, needed to be overhauled and modernized. The demonstrators were concerned that the hurry with which the regulations were approved, as well as the scope of the changes they entailed, would result in a precipitous drop in agricultural prices.
Modi’s administration had maintained that allowing market forces to operate would aid in the system’s repair.
Who were the protesters?
Several hundred Sikhs from the states of Punjab and Haryana were among those who took to the streets to express their religious freedom. Farmers in other regions of the country organized demonstrations in support of their fellow farmers. Their demonstrations have brought the bleak truth of inequality in most of the country into the open. More over 60% of India’s 1.3 billion people still rely largely on agriculture for their subsistence, despite the fact that the industry generates just around 15% of the country’s total economic output.
Farmers have been committing suicide at alarmingly high rates for years as a result of debt and bankruptcy.
Photograph by Karan Deep Singh for The New York Times
What were they asking for?
The demonstrators called Prime Minister Modi’s efforts to restructure Indian agriculture into something more sustainable into question. They urged Mr. Modi to revoke regulations approved in September 2020 that would reduce the government’s involvement in agriculture and provide greater opportunities for private companies. Farmers and private investment, according to the government, would benefit from the new rules, which will spur economic growth. Farmers, on the other hand, were concerned that the elimination of governmental safeguards, which they already regarded inadequate, would put them at the whim of unscrupulous companies.
Nevertheless, as India’s economy has been more liberalized in recent decades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who wants the country’s GDP to nearly quadruple by 2024 — has realized that a big government involvement in the agriculture sector is no longer viable.
They were concerned that market-friendly legislation would eventually abolish regulatory protection, leaving them without a means of support and with little hope of an alternative way of life in a weaker economy. Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters is credited with this image.
What You Need to Know About the Farmers’ Protests in India
Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. Recently, the farmers’ protest in India gained international attention because celebrities such as Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, and Meena Harris shared information about it on Twitter, reaching a total of 107 million followers. In response to a post explaining how internet connectivity was banned in and around New Delhi following violent clashes between police and farmers opposing contentious agricultural policies, Rihann tweeted, “why aren’t we talking about this?!.” Later in the day, Thunberg said on Twitter that she was standing in solidarity with farmers.
The post was posted by Harris, who is the niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris.
Yoga and wellness practitioners were urged to get aware and to stand in solidarity with the farmers, according to the captions.
A Call for Support in the Yoga Community
Yoga students who are devoted to their practice may question why they are being urged to take action in this way. Starting with the basics, if you regularly practice yoga and Ayurvedic breathing techniques to help you get through the day, drink turmeric lattes and masala chai, or offer tulsi tea to your stressed-out friends, you are likely to have benefitted from yoga and Ayurveda. My ethnicity is Punjabi Indian, and as a British-born yoga instructor with Punjabi Indian ancestry, I feel it is crucial to honor the history of yoga, which includes supporting the cultures and peoples from where this wisdom comes.
The ultimate duty for social change and justice rests with each of us as yoga practitioners, who must assume personal accountability as agents of sustainable social change and justice.
When we simply look for happy vibrations, we run the danger of not widening our hearts and brains to include compassion for the pain of others as we should.
a separator between sections Almost six months ago, India’s government introduced controversial agricultural reform legislation, which sparked widespread outrage.
In the aftermath, there were months of rallies demanding for an end to the legislation, culminating in recent violent conflicts and a humanitarian catastrophe that garnered widespread international attention. The following is a chronology of events.
September 20-28, 2020: How It Started
A COVID-19 shutdown forces the Indian parliament to submit three unpopular farming reform proposals, all of which are passed into law with little consultation, discussion or majority support during the lockdown. Thereform relaxes the regulations governing the price, selling, and storage of products. Agricultural officials claim that a free market will stimulate private investment and modernisation, which will be beneficial to the agricultural industry. Farmers, on the other hand, are outraged by the move, which they regard as exploitative, advantageous to big business, and a danger to their livelihoods.
They make it from season to season by selling their wares to local government marketplaces at minimum prices that are guaranteed.
To safeguard their livelihoods and diminishing land holdings, farmers are opposing the agricultural reform regulations enacted in the last decade.
Photograph by Gaurav Kumar
November 25-30, 2020: March to Delhi
A COVID-19 shutdown forces the Indian parliament to present three unpopular farming reform proposals, all of which are passed into law without any consultation, discussion, or majority support. Pricing, selling, and storing produce are all made easier under Thereform. Agricultural officials claim that a free market would foster private investment and modernisation, both of which will help the agricultural industry. Farmers, on the other hand, are outraged by the move, which they perceive as exploitative, beneficial to big business, and a danger to their livelihoods.
It is only through selling commodities to local government markets at fixed minimum rates that they can survive from season to season.
To safeguard their livelihoods and diminishing land holdings, farmers are protesting the agricultural reform regulations enacted in the United States.
Gaurav Kumar contributed to this photograph.
December 2020-January 2021: Standing Ground
Freezing showers, along with continued tense conditions, put a strain on protesters who are already under stress. In all, 143 farmers die from pneumonia, heart attacks, and various illnesses and afflictions, with an additional 7 farmers believed to have committed suicide. Meanwhile, between October 14, 2020 and January 22, 2021, there are 11 rounds of discussions with 30 farmer unions scheduled to take place over a period of nine months.
Farmers, on the other hand, are adamant about maintaining their stance, thinking that compromises would still result in the destruction of their livelihoods. The Supreme Court of the United States temporarily halted the execution of the three statutes on January 12.
January 26, 2021: Red Fort Riots
To raise awareness, protesters plan a Kisan (Farmers’ Republic Day) Parade, as well as a tractor rally. In order to coincide with Republic Day on January 26, a national holiday commemorating the formal adoption of India’s constitution in 1950, following independence from British colonial control, the event has been scheduled for January 26. Officials in Delhi have approved three parade routes on the outskirts of the city, allowing 5,000 tractors from three adjacent camps to take part in the festivities.
The great majority of demonstrators demonstrate in a peaceful manner.
One gang gains entry to the ITO metro station, while the other cracks security at the ancient Red Fort, which dates back to the 17th century.
Navreet Singh, a protestor, is murdered, and 86 police officers are hurt in the clashes.
Paramilitary forces and police officers in riot gear are dispatched, and what transpires over the next several days is what prompted Rihanna to issue her tweet. More than 200 protesters have been detained as a result of anti-terrorist legislation. In addition to the suspension of internet connection, concrete barriers and barbed wire fences have been built, iron nails have been glued into the roadways, and entry and departure points have been barred. The most concerning aspect of the situation is the disruption of water, electricity, and food supply to demonstrators.
- UN Human Rights Office urges on Indian authorities to “identify fair solutions while maintaining due respect for Human Rights for everyone” in a Twitter message.
- However, contrary to some disinformation that has circulated, the protests are not about separatist, sedition, or anti-national activity.
- Importantly, the regulations assist large enterprises at the expense of small businesses, who are already struggling under the weight of dwindling land holdings and mounting debt.
- Over 20% of farmers currently live below the poverty level, according to the USDA.
- Farmers are also more vulnerable to being coerced into surrendering their ancestral and family lands as a result of this.
- Even if some farmers are finally brought to a designated protesting zone in Delhi, many more linger on the outskirts of the city, setting up encampments with homemade tents and kitchens and providing langar—free meals for everyone, including police officers—at various locations.
Some others are concerned that nationalists, who are vilifying farmers, would inflame divides. When the highly heated environment is invoked, the scars of sad events that have occurred in the past are brought to mind.
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre at Amritsar(April 13, 1919)
- During Vaisakhi, the Sikh and Hindu Spring festival, British forces opened fire on a walled-in park filled with Punjabi men, women, and children, resulting in the death of 1,650 people. At least 547 people were murdered, with some estimates placing the death toll at well over 1,000, including a seven-week-old infant
- 1,500 people were injured
- And the number of persons dead continues to rise. The slaughter marked a watershed moment in Indian history, marking the point at which Gandhi began his struggle for complete independence.
The Partition (August 14-15, 1947)
- After 300 years of colonial control, the British divided the subcontinent into two country states, creating Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Before India gained independence from the British, the subcontinent was divided into two nation states. The demarcation line, known as the Radcliffe Line, was created by a British lawyer who had never set foot in India before. Despite the fact that the religious groups had coexisted peacefully in surrounding villages for generations, the division triggered one of the most devastating revolutions in global history, displacing 15 million people and sparking horrendous acts of violence on both sides of the border. There is no definite figure for the number of people that died, although it is thought that between 200,000 and two million people died in the massacre and from illnesses that decimated refugee camps.
Operation Blue Star at the Golden Temple in Amritsar (1984)
- Pilgrims are caught up in a poorly prepared military operation that ends up turning into a three-day siege in an attempt to remove armed separatists from the scene. An international diplomatic crisis resulted from images of India’s government seizing control of a revered place. It also resulted in the killing of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, who had authorized the operation in the first place. Following this, an anti-Sikh pogrom resulted in the deaths of up to 17,000 Sikhs and the relocation of another 50,000 Sikhs.
All of these incidents have opened up new scars, particularly in Punjab, where the farmer demonstrations began. Many of those farmers identify as Sikh, and farmer elders who were present at the time of the Partition and the pogroms are still haunted by the pain of those events. a separator between sections Yoga as a wisdom tradition and practice had its origins in India prior to the partition (South Asia). The practice of yoga is currently being practiced by 300 million individuals throughout the world.
- The herbs and spices cultivated in India, such as tulsi, turmeric, cardamom, and other spices, are also being consumed by us.
- It is estimated that the ayurvedic goods business in India alone is worth $4 billion.
- In other words, we are “grabbing the gifts of the ancestors without making a commitment to their successors,” as the American writer, teacher, and activist Starhawk puts it.
- Photo courtesy of Vichien Petchmai.
- Upon studying the Bhagavad Gita for the first time, Mahatma Gandhi created the ideology of Satyagraha (standing steadfast in the truth), which served as the foundation for his anti-colonial Quit India campaign and subsequent independence victory.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Yoga’s ideals are calling you to action as well, and you must respond to this call.
- All of the routes of jnana (knowledge, discernment, or discerning wisdom), karma yoga (selfless service to others), bhakti yoga (devotion, faith, trust), and raja yoga (the path of yogic disciplines and practices) lead to liberation of the individual and communal selves.
We are all related in the world awareness, and our Indian family is in desperate need of foreign assistance right now. a separator between sections
1. Sign petitions
Providing support through your signature can aid in the growth of a larger movement. Here are a few options to consider:
- Demanding Nodeep Kaur’s release from incarceration as a Dalit rights activist In India, a petition has been filed to have the “Farmers Act 2020” repealed. Support the Protesting Farmers by signing the Petition to Abolish the Three Farm Bills. Petition to the United Nations urging India to reaffirm that freedom of expression is a fundamental pillar of democratic government
2. Use social mediatags
They contribute to raising awareness, and others can benefit from the knowledge you provide. Use FarmersProtestStandWithFarmersAskIndiaWhy
3. Explore toolkits
The information you share can be found by others, which aids in raising awareness. Use FarmersProtestStandWithFarmersAskIndiaWhy
About Kallie Schut
Kallie Schut is a yoga and dharmic traditions instructor who has been a social justice and antiracist activist for the betterment of people who do not have a voice or presence in positions of power, privilege, and influence for the betterment of society. The yoga teacher Kallie is of Indian descent and practices deliberate hatha, yin, yoga nidra, meditation, and gong. Kallie was one of the first members of the Yoga Teachers Union in the United Kingdom. As the founder of the Rebel YogaTribe YouTube channel and the Radical Yogi Book Club, she also teaches continuing professional development trainings that delve deeply into the legacy of colonialism, cultural appropriation, intersectional oppression, and racism in modern yoga.
What you need to know about India’s Farmers Protest
Kallie Schut is a yoga and dharmic traditions instructor who has been a social justice and antiracist activist for the betterment of people who do not have a voice or presence in positions of power, privilege, and influence for the betterment of the community. The yoga teacher Kallie is of Indian descent and practices deliberate hatha, yin, yoga nidra, meditation, and Gong. Among the founding members of the Yoga Teachers Union in the United Kingdom is Kallie Smith. As the founder of the Rebel YogaTribe YouTube channel and the Radical Yogi Book Club, she also teaches continuing professional development trainings that delve deeply into the legacy of colonialism, cultural appropriation, intersectional oppression, and racism in modern yoga.
- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
- And the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 are all pieces of legislation that will be implemented in the coming year.
These are the three farm legislations that have been the focus of public debate for quite some time. Neither the government nor the farmers are willing to engage in bargaining. Farmer leaders have made it plain that they want the federal government to abolish all three agricultural legislations. Meanwhile, the administration has been attempting to negotiate as much as possible, but neither side has been able to reach an agreement as of yet. According to the government, the following are the advantages that farmers would enjoy as a result of the new law being in effect: –
- Agricultural producers now have the flexibility to sell their commodities outside of the APMC’s boundaries, and there will be no taxes levied on such transaction, allowing the producers to obtain a higher price for their crop. This is an important development for farmers. Agriculture producers will now be able to sell their products anywhere in the country, with no limits imposed by the government
- No license will be necessary for merchants who do not operate within the APMC to purchase agricultural products from farmers. Anyone who possesses a PAN card or any other document that has been approved by the Central government is eligible to engage in business with farmers. This will stimulate the interchange of agricultural goods, which will ultimately benefit the farmers. In the event that any farmers have a dispute with a trader, the matter will be addressed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate within 30 days of the occurrence. As a further measure, anyone who attempt to defraud the farmers by whatever means would face severe penalties.
According to the farmers, the following are the disadvantages:
- A common concern among farmers is that the Mandi’s that are now operating under the APMC law would be closed down, leaving them with no guarantee of minimum support price. Agriculture goods have previously been sold by farmers in a number of states, and the new rule would solely benefit the largest corporations. Farmers will be more vulnerable to fraud since they would be able to deal with anybody who has a legitimate government identification card
Farmers have encountered several obstacles in the national capital in their efforts to establish a common ground between all of the issues at hand. At the same time, during the protest’s initial phase, the Delhi police demanded that the Delhi government transform stadiums into temporary prisons. The Delhi government, on the other hand, rejected down their appeal.
Farm laws: India farmers end protest after government accepts demands
Getty Images is the source of this image. Caption for the image Farmers have stated that they will return to their homes after more than a year of demonstrations. Farmers in India have announced that they are calling an end to a year of nationwide demonstrations, a week after the government promised to scrap divisive agricultural changes. There were tens of thousands of farmers camping on the outskirts of the Indian capital, Delhi, with scores dying as a result of the heat, cold, and Covid. They will begin returning to their homes as early as this weekend.
- Farmer organizations came to this conclusion after ministers agreed to address their other requests, which included guaranteed pricing for crops and the removal of criminal charges against farmers who were protesting their treatment.
- If the government fails to deliver on its promises, we may be forced to renew the protest “According to farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni, who spoke to local media.
- Farm unions said that these regulations would leave farmers susceptible to large corporations and would cause their livelihoods to be destroyed.
- On the 30th of November, the House of Commons formally voted a measure to repeal the changes.
- Farmers, on the other hand, did not instantly abandon their protest camps after Mr Modi’s statement.
- On Thursday, the administration sent an official letter to agricultural leaders, in which it acknowledged the majority of their demands.
- Caption for the image Thousands of farmers have tented at Delhi’s borders, enduring the bitter cold, scorching heat, and suffocating Covid.
- Farmers’ unions are also celebrating, as the government admitted to the House of Commons last week that it had no record of how many farmers died as a result of the demonstrations.
- The demonstrations gathered traction for the first time in November of last year, when farmers attempted to march into Delhi but were detained by police at the city’s boundaries.
- Agriculturalists are the most powerful voting bloc in India, and analysts believe that the impending state elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh may have driven the government to reverse its previous policies.
Getty Images is the source of this image. The demonstrations provided one of the most significant obstacles to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration.
What did the laws offer?
Another significant development was the ability for farmers to sell their goods at market prices directly to private actors such as agricultural firms, supermarket chains and internet grocers. This was one of the most significant changes. Indian farmers now sell the bulk of their goods at guaranteed floor prices at government-controlled wholesale marketplaces or mandis, which are run by the government (also known as minimum support price or MSP). Private purchasers were now able to stockpile commodities such as rice, wheat, and pulses for future sale, something that had previously been restricted to government-authorized agencies.
The demonstrators, on the other hand, claimed that the legislation would harm farmers by allowing private actors to set pricing and determine their fate.
They said that India’s rigorous regulations governing the sale of agricultural goods, as well as its generous subsidies, had shielded farmers from market forces for decades and that there was no need to change this.
a caption for the media Farmers protesting in India face the cold, the heat, and the Covid
Indian farmers’ protests: Why they matter to British Indians
Getty Images is the source of this image. “I believe it is a significant victory for the farmers who have been protesting,” says Kiren Dhadwal, a 31-year-old British Sikh of Indian heritage who resides in the United Kingdom. Farmers and their families have been protesting in India for more than a year, camping out in Delhi to voice their opposition to the government’s new farm rules, which they believe would destroy their livelihoods. Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister and a former farmer, has stated that the country’s three controversial agricultural laws would be repealed.
Getty Images is the source of this image.
As a result of the U-turn, she claims that things are “moving in the right way” and that “we want to make certain that everything is done properly.” For British Asians and Indians all across the world, it is a very emotional occasion.
After Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg both tweeted their support for the cause, the problem was catapulted into the worldwide spotlight.
What were the new farming laws?
The three new farming legislation were enacted throughout the course of the summer. It allows farmers to sell directly to private purchasers rather than via government-controlled markets where they are guaranteed a minimum price. Farmers can sell directly to private customers rather than through government-controlled marketplaces where they are guaranteed a minimum price. Because the improvements would make markets more efficient and will attract more investment, the government claims that farmers will benefit from the changes.
Caption for the image Kiren travels to Punjab on a regular basis to see friends and relatives.
It is true that a significant amount of it originates in India.” According to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s government, which is in charge of enacting these regulations, they would enhance agricultural earnings and production.
“We have to make sure it’s not just a tactical move before of the polls to aid Modi’s victory,” Kiren says.
‘There’s a need for reform’
We chatted with a Hindu man from Nottingham who shared his thoughts with us. He did not want to be identified for fear of being assaulted on the internet. His parents put up farming in order to relocate to the United Kingdom, and he claims that the majority of his family has subsequently been forced to sell land in Punjab. It is explained by him that “there are middlemen who grab a large piece of profit from the farmers.” The necessity to safeguard them against this, as well as to provide them with a better bargain, is critical.
- Some folks choose to use a different image caption.
- Specifically, he is concerned that the demonstration would lead to religious tensions in the community.
- Furthermore, Balraj Purewal, 20 years old, adds that if he were there right now, he would be a farmer.
- When asked if he would have been a farmer if his grandparents hadn’t gone to the United Kingdom, Balraj Purewal said affirmatively.
- It’s just not fair, to put it mildly.
- My relative has been participating in the demonstrations.
- A tractor demonstration by farmers erupted in violence, resulting in the death of one protester and the injury of hundreds of police officers and protestors.
On India’s Republic Day, a small group of activists attacked the ancient Red Fort in Delhi and occupied it until authorities forced them to flee. This was interpreted as an assault on the sovereignty of India.
‘For the last 50 years it’s not been enough’
Farmers in India are rejoicing, as seen in the image description. Manu Khajuria comes from a Hindu farming family and believes that there have been no improvements for decades in the agriculture sector. According to her, “the land was passed down from an ancestor through his military duty.” “It has also enabled us to put food on our tables.” Because they didn’t generate enough money as farmers, Manu’s grandpa and father had to perform additional occupations in addition to farming. She claims that her generation has been forced to find something new.
- Tani Dulay, a third-generation Punjabi from Birmingham, is depicted in the image caption.
- In the words of the 28-year-old, “Punjab is very much the motherland of India.” “This is our Mecca, here is our mother, this is our motherland.
- There would be no India if Punjab did not exist.” Tani was concerned that the new legislation would allow farmers to be exploited, and she has spent the last six months advocating against them on the internet.
- It would be a loss of one’s sense of self “He went on to say more.
- Every day at 12:45 and 17:45, you can listen to Newsbeatlive, or you can listen to it on demandhere.
(CNN) Angry Indian farmers have abandoned their crops in order to organize one of the country’s largest rallies in recent history. In the month of November, tens of thousands of farmers have taken up residence in tents in large camps set up along roads outside the Indian capital of New Delhi. Massive barriers constructed by the police and topped with barbed wire are situated just a few hundred meters away from the camp, stopping the farmers from pressing any closer to the city’s central business district.
Farmers are battling new farming legislation that were approved last September, which they claim would have a devastating impact on their businesses.
Despite the fact that discussions between the government and the farmers’ unions have come to a halt, it does not look that the demonstrations will be ended anytime soon.
Why are the farmers protesting the new laws?
For decades, the Indian government has granted guaranteed prices to farmers for specific crops, providing a solid guidance for making decisions and making investments for the following crop cycle in a predictable manner. Previous legislation mandated that farmers sell their produce in an auction at their state’s Agricultural Produce Market Committee, where they were guaranteed at least the minimum price set by the government. It was prohibited for some individuals to purchase, and the prices of basic items were limited.
In his statement, Modi claims that this provides farmers more flexibility to do things such as sell directly to purchasers without the need of a middleman, sell to neighboring states, or sell to huge supermarket chains.
Farmers may be able to sell their products at higher prices if there is sufficient demand; yet, if there is an excess of supply, they may struggle to achieve the minimum price set by the government.
Why is this a political issue?
This is not the first time that enormous demonstrations have erupted throughout India, the world’s largest democracy – but it is the first time that they have presented a unique challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. About 58 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population rely on agriculture for their living, and farmers constitute the country’s largest voting group, making farming a crucial political issue in the country. Modi might lose a considerable number of votes in the next general election, which will take place in 2024, if he continues to irritate farmers.
In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that all agricultural prices should be regulated at a minimum of 50% higher than production costs.
The government maintains that the new legislation are beneficial because they would increase market competition, which will in turn increase farmers’ revenue.
“These changes have not only served to free our farmers from their shackles, but they have also provided them with new rights and possibilities,” Modi stated in November.
When did the protests start?
The large demonstrations began immediately after the legislation were approved in September. In November, enraged farmers travelled in tractor convoys from all across India to put up a series of blockades at the city’s international airport and borders. There were thousands of people who marched from other adjacent states to the city, where violence quickly erupted as police used tear gas and water cannons to prevent them from approaching the capital. Supporters from throughout the country took part in labor and hunger strikes throughout December, which helped to keep the demonstrations going.
As a result of how it has handled the demonstrations, the government has come under fire, notably following the violent skirmishes between farmers and their supporters and the Delhi police during a tractor parade on Republic Day in January.
Security personnel maintain a perimeter around the camps near the Delhi border; they have not attempted to clear the camp, most likely because doing so would be politically unpopular with the local population.
The number of protesters who have died has not been released by the authorities.
Has there been any progress with negotiations?
Despite months of negotiations, government authorities have been unable to achieve any kind of accord or compromise with the heads of more than 30 farmer’s unions across the country. In December, officials proposed revisions to the three laws, including a suggestion that state governments be given the authority to levy fines on private businesses. Farmers, however, rejected the proposals, claiming that the government was “insincere” in its efforts to reform the laws. The Supreme Court of India temporarily halted the implementation of the three laws in mid-January, in the expectation that the farmers would “come to the negotiation table with confidence and good faith.” The administration then indicated that it was prepared to delay the rules for another 12 to 18 months while it worked with farmers’ unions to reach a long-term agreement.
Farmers have blocked highways and held protests in various states over the course of the past week alone, with police arresting a number of demonstrators.
Indian farmers forced Modi to back down on new laws. So why aren’t they going home?
Updated at 1037 UTC (1837 HKT) The date is November 26, 2021. New Delhi is the capital of India (CNN) On his family’s farm, Santosh Singh’s earliest recollection is of tilling the dirt with his father. The 70-year-old farmer’s eyes light up with pleasure as he recalls witnessing his grandson accomplish the same thing a few years ago. Since joining farmers at one of three protest sites in Delhi to advocate against new farming rules they believed would leave them vulnerable to exploitation, Singh has not returned to his home province of Punjab in more than a year, according to Singh.
Farmers gathered at all three protest locations on Friday to commemorate one year after the civil disobedience that forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reverse course on a rare policy decision last week.
“All of my agitated farming buddies are urged to do the same.
Let’s start over from the beginning “Modi made the statement.
Farmers, on the other hand, say they will continue to demonstrate until the government complies with a number of other demands, including raising the minimum price of their produce, withdrawing legal action against some farmers, and compensating the families of hundreds of farmers who have died as a result of the civil action.
Planting a loss
Singh has been sleeping on a wooden cot wrapped with blankets inside one of the hundreds of shacks that have sprung up around Singhu, the major protest site, for the past 12 months. Since last November, he and tens of thousands of others have endured a brutal winter, a hot summer, and a global pandemic in the midst of a difficult environment. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had argued that the changes would address a system beset by flaws.
- The agricultural regulations were intended to ease the restrictions on the selling, price, and storage of farm food that had been in place for decades to protect farmers from an uncontrolled free market.
- According to a survey by the India Brand Equity Foundation, agriculture is the major source of livelihood for around 58 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion population, or roughly 58 million people.
- In 2018, however, according to official figures, agricultural households earned an average of 10,218 rupees ($137) per month, which was 316 rupees less than the median wage earned by the entire country in the same year.
- According to him, “farmers are already incurring a financial loss when they plant their seeds to develop crops.” “They have given up their revenue for the benefit of customers, and it is the small farmers who have been abused the most,” says the author.
- According to government statistics, more than 10,000 persons working in the agriculture sector committed suicide in 2019.
“This rally is the culmination of a buildup of rage,” Sharma explained. “Farmers are well aware that this may be their final opportunity to ensure a secure future for themselves. This is a life-and-death scenario.”
What farmers want
The Delhi police set up barricades to restrict access to the three protest locations on Friday, although the number of people who showed up was smaller than it had been during the peak of the rallies. The time for revelry had passed – despite their lesser numbers, tens of thousands of people nevertheless come out to make their demands very clear. In a statement, Rakesh Tikait, national spokesman of farmers’ organization Bhartiya Kisan Union, encouraged the government to consult with farmers in order to find a solution – which he said would be additional government assistance.
- They can assist us in increasing the rate of agricultural production “he explained.
- Swaminathan, the so-called “father of India’s Green Revolution,” issued suggestions to alleviate farmers’ stress, farmers have complained that successive governments have disregarded them for more than 15 years.
- Despite the fact that the government claims to have adopted 200 of 201 suggestions, farmers maintain that land ownership and food distribution still require change, and they want all farmers legally entitled to a minimum support price for their whole harvest.
- So, for example, they’re seeking for the arrest of Ajay Mishra Teni, a junior home affairs minister whose convoy they claim attacked demonstrators in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, last month.
- A media spokesperson for the Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of agricultural unions, stated that the majority of the deaths were caused by extreme cold and traffic accidents, according to Paramjeet Singh Katyal.
Modi’s ‘rare’ backdown
In order to restrict access to the three protest locations on Friday, Delhi police set up barricades, although attendance was smaller than it had been during the rallies’ zenith. Even though the crowds were less than in previous years, tens of thousands still showed out to make their voices heard. In a statement, Rakesh Tikait, national spokesman of farmers’ organization Bhartiya Kisan Union, encouraged the government to consult with farmers in order to find a solution – which he said may be additional government assistance.
- In order to boost the pace of agricultural production, they can assist us “As he said it In order to help us, the government may provide medical and health benefits to individuals living in rural areas, and it can also provide educational opportunities for their children.
- Swaminathan, who is widely regarded as the “Father of India’s Green Revolution,” has recommended measures to alleviate farmers’ stress for 15 years, according to farmers.
- The government claims to have adopted 200 of 201 suggestions; nonetheless, farmers argue that land ownership and food distribution still require change, and they want all farmers to be legally entitled to a minimum support price (MSP) for their whole crop production.
- Their demands include the detention of Ajay Mishra Teni, a junior home affairs minister who they claim was involved in an October clash with demonstrators in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh.
A media spokesperson for the Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of agricultural unions, stated that the majority of the deaths were caused by extreme cold and traffic accidents, according to Paramjeet Singh Katyal.
‘If we die here, we die’
According to some observers, Modi’s farm laws were one of India’s “largest reforms,” and they had the potential to alter the country’s ailing agricultural industry. According to economist Gautam Chikermane, vice president of the Observer Research Foundation, its repeal would make it more difficult for other administrations to undertake similar measures in the future. Agricultural changes have “secured the future of farmers for the next quarter century,” according to Chikermane. “No political party will have the audacity to alter these reforms,” he said.
- The owner of the acres of land he owns in his village in Punjab, Harjinder Singh, 45, claims he is among the final generation of farmers working on the property.
- His children have relocated to another location.
- “However, I am battling to save an industry that I cannot bear the thought of losing.” Santosh Singh wields a dagger, as do many adherents of the Sikh faith, but for him, this has been a weapon of patience and serenity in his fight against injustice.
- He believes this is the case, and he is devoted to fighting for the rights of India’s whole farming community, no matter how long it takes.
- If we die here, we die, and if we die elsewhere, we die elsewhere “he explained.
- Vedika Sud of CNN contributed to this article.
Explainer: How Indian farmers’ protest turned into a country-wide movement
Getting Help: The AASRA’s Suicide Prevention Helpline Directory includes contact information for crisis centers around the country, including information on how to obtain help. Contributing to this report was Vedika Sud of CNN.
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NEW DELHI, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The Indian capital is preparing to host the World Cup. A massive demonstration organized by a group of important farmer leaders in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, this week increased the pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration to roll back three new farm laws. In response to the successful mass meeting – the largest rally so far in a months,long series of rallies to demand for repeal of the rules – farmers’ union officials in Uttar Pradesh have announced plans to ramp up protests in the state ahead of the state assembly election next year.
However, the government claims that the laws will help growers get better prices. click here to find out more
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HOW DID A PROTEST BY FARMERS EXTEND TO BECOME A NATIONAL MOVEMENT? After the agricultural regulations were passed by Parliament late last year, tens of thousands of farmers from the grain-growing states of Punjab and Haryana marched towards the Indian capital, New Delhi. Growers have taken to the roads leading to India’s capital, New Delhi, after being barred from entering by officials. This is the country’s longest-running farmers’ protest against the government. Several rounds of negotiations between the government and farm union officials were unsuccessful in breaking the impasse.
- Farmer activists from other areas of the nation were inspired to action as the days went on, either by joining the protest in New Delhi or by organizing a series of protests in several states across the country.
- Farmers from all around the nation, even those outside Punjab and Haryana – regarded as India’s grain belt – responded positively to the increased demand.
- After the farmers’ demonstrations gained traction across the country, union officials shifted their attention to Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of 240 million people.
- Prior to the state assembly election, farm union officials want to portray the BJP as a party that is anti-farmer, particularly in western Uttar Pradesh, where agriculture is the backbone of the economy.
- The election in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 legislators to the Indian parliament in New Delhi, more than any other state, is seen as a gauge of public support for the federal administration in the country.
- Do Hindu and Muslim farmers in the state of Uttar Pradesh have banded together to oppose the state’s farm laws?
- The higher caste landlords from the Jat group in western Uttar Pradesh, which sends 130 legislators to the state legislature, and the farmhands, who are mainly from the bottom strands of the rigid Hindu social hierarchy, have banded together to resist the farm rules.
Tikait, 51, and his supporters argue that the BJP benefited from religious divisions, and that farmers’ solidarity will harm the ruling party. It was claimed by the BJP that it was inciting communal conflict.
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Mayank Bhardwaj contributed reporting, and Nick Zieminski edited the piece. The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles serve as our benchmarks.