New Delhi, India – Tens of thousands of farmers are staged demonstrations across India to record year of their demonstrations against three anti-farm laws, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced his removal.
Mu a wonderful U-turn Prior to the by-elections in the central government, Modi last Friday said the bill would be reinstated in India when it convenes later this month. Although farmers’ organizations were pleased with the decision, they decided to cancel the protests until the rules were lifted.
The Modi government has enacted three controversial laws in September 2020, stating that their purpose was to “cultivate” modern technology. The government said the law would help farmers increase their income and give them more options when selling their produce.
But farmers ‘organizations say the law has helped a number of businesses to improve access to large-scale agriculture in India and restrict farmers’ minimum (MSP) guaranteed government benefits from their produce.
In November last year, hundreds of thousands of farmers – mostly from the wheat belt region of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – marched to New Delhi to demand the repeal of farm regulations. Prohibited from entering the nation’s capital, they set up camp on three main roads leading to the city. Since then, he has not left the area.
Farmers have demonstrated and practiced tractors and other events across the country on Friday, ignoring Modi’s request to return home.
“So far no one has lost or won. But the government has gone to negotiations now, “Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers Union) leader Rakesh Tikait told Al Jazeera earlier this week.
“The day the government comes to the table with a sincere heart, that day we will find the answer.”
‘We do not trust this man’
Earlier this week, Al Jazeera visited a small group of farmers at a demonstration site in Ghazipur on the outskirts of New Delhi, reading and discussing Hindi newspaper articles.
Refusing Modi’s request to return to their homes, angry farmers have decided to stay until the law is removed from parliament.
“We do not trust this man,” said Abdesh Kumar Jha, 87, a farmer from Madhubani in Bihar who traveled to Ghazipur in February to take part in a protest rally.
“Modi is not a king and his words cannot be changed into law. We are a democracy and not a state. As these laws established the legislature, we want them to be removed from parliament as well,” some Jha acknowledged.
On Monday, thousands of farmers held a rally in Lucknow, India’s capital city of Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due to take place early next year. In the elections, the Modi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes to remain in power.
Tikait, a leader of prominent farmers in western Uttar Pradesh, said that if the Modi government did not agree with their demands, they would campaign against the party in the upcoming elections.
“If this government does not listen to us, we must fight against it in areas where it is politically motivated. Why don’t we launch an anti-government campaign if it doesn’t agree with our demands? ”
Apart from the MSP law, these farmers also want the government to repeal the electricity law which they fear could cause governments to relinquish their right to use free energy or resources, which are mainly used for irrigation.
They also want compensation for the families of about 700 farmers who lost their lives at the annual show, according to several farmers’ organizations.
They also want the government to impose fines and other punitive penalties on harvesting their crops. The smoke has become a major source of air pollution in New Delhi and in satellite towns bordering northern crops that grow crops.
“They should give us a certified MSP for our crops. Who will pay for the families of the more than 700 farmers we lost at the show. Who will take care of their families? This is a problem that needs to be addressed first, “Jha told Al Jazeera.
“We are not going anywhere until our problems are solved.”
Kishan Singh, 74, of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, joined Jha, saying: “Unless the government and the Prime Minister do not agree to our demands, we will not return to our homes.”
Singh said Modi decided to repeal the ordinance in the run-up to the upcoming elections.
“They [BJP] seeking votes. He does not like the farmers of the country or its people. They need votes and that is why they have decided to repeal the law, “said Al Jazeera, adding that he had voted for the party in the last two elections but now regrets it.
“They will. Modi promised to increase farmers’ incomes and talked about increasing the MSP of crops when he was prime minister of Gujarat. What did he promise? ” Singh asked.
Al Jazeera contacted a BJP spokesman, but declined to comment.
Gilles Verniers, a journalist and political scientist at Ashoka University outside New Delhi, told Al Jazeera that Modi’s announcement indicated that the idea of repealing farm rules was “driven by elections”.
“But the strange nature of the election indicates that it may have been taken for other reasons. First, the farmers’ protests became a sign of the decline of democracy in India, and have greatly contributed to the deterioration of the image of the Prime Minister abroad,” he said.
“Second, the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend the ordinance pending the settlement of disputes with the farmers, combined with their determination to oppose the ordinance, made the law extremely questionable.”
Verniers said there was “significant mistrust” among farmers against the Modi government.
“The abolition of agricultural laws was a matter of priority for farmers but not just for them. The agricultural crisis is still as serious as it is now, and farmers are still waiting for the government to take action. ”