- On Saturday, tens of thousands of overjoyed Indian farmers cleared protest sites on the outskirts of the capital.
- Modi announced last month that the new measures would be withdrawn after a year of insisting that they would benefit farmers.
Thousands of jubilant Indian ranchers cleared protest sites on the capital’s outskirts on Saturday. They began returning home, bringing an end to their year-long protests against agricultural reforms that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government repealed in a rare retreat.
Farmers dismantled their makeshift shelters at several protest sites and began to clear long stretches of highways encircling New Delhi, where they had been camped since November of last year. Hundreds of them rode tractors, jeeps, and cars, waving green and white flags and dancing to celebrate their victory.
“Farmers are the ones who have saved democracy. It was a fight for fairness. “Nagendra Singh, a farmer, expressed his thoughts.
Modi announced last month that the new measures would be withdrawn after a year of insisting that they would benefit farmers. On Nov. 30, a bill repealing the laws was officially passed in Parliament.
On the other hand, farmers said they would not leave the protest sites until the government agreed to other demands, such as guaranteed prices for key crops and the dismissal of criminal cases against protesters.
The government formed a committee to consider those demands on Thursday.
According to Modi’s government, the laws are necessary reforms to modernize Indian agriculture and will result in a deregulated market with more private-sector control of agriculture.
Farmers claimed that the laws would drastically reduce their incomes and leave them vulnerable to large corporations. They demanded that the laws be repealed completely in Protest.
They also demanded that the government guarantee staple crops like wheat and rice prices. Currently, most farmers sell only to government-approved, fixed-price marketplaces.
Farmers are one of India’s most powerful voting blocs. Modi’s decision to repeal the laws comes ahead of elections in key states such as Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, both major agricultural producers where Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to bolster its support.
Political analysts state the upcoming elections are a major factor in the unexpected move, but it’s too early to tell if it will succeed.
“After resorting to dictatorship, Modi apologized to farmers. We were referred to as terrorists. Because of the upcoming elections, he bowed to protests. “Jaigran, another farmer who goes by one name, agreed.
Modi’s government initially attempted to discredit the protestors, mostly Sikh farmers, by dismissing their concerns as religious nationalism. They were dubbed “Khalistanis” by some in Modi’s party, referring to a movement for an independent Sikh homeland in India.
Such accusations backfired, infuriating farmers and their supporters even more.
The protests drew international support and were Modi’s government’s biggest test since taking power in 2014.
The protests were mostly peaceful, but on Jan. 26, thousands of farmers took over New Delhi’s historic Red Fort in a highly symbolic move. At least one farmer was killed, and many protesters and police officers were injured.
Farmers’ leaders claim that since November last year, more than 500 protesters have died as a result of suicide, cold weather, and COVID-19 and that the government should compensate each family with 500,000 rupees (US$6,750). On the other hand, the government claims to have no figures on the number of people who died as a result of the protests.
The leaders stated that they would review the government’s actions next month and determine their next course of action.
Source: CTV News
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