Indian farmers mark six months of protests against agrarian reforms
New Delhi, May 26 (EFE).- Farmers across India on Wednesday held a “black day” to mark six months of protests against three agrarian laws that seek to liberalize the farming sector, even as the country struggles with a virulent second wave of the coronavirus epidemic.
Farmers protested from the balconies of their houses and held small gatherings at multiple spots across the country to raise black flags as a symbol of opposition to the agrarian reforms, Avil Saha, the secretary of one of the organizing groups – the All India Farmers’ Struggle Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) – told EFE.
“It is not a big demonstration on the streets,” Saha insisted.
The protests were spread over more than 10,000 locations across India, he said, including the permanent sit-in demonstrations on several entry points to Delhi, where around 50,000 farmers have continued to hold fort since Nov. 26 with their tractors, trucks and tents.
India continues to struggle against the second wave of the coronavirus, with the total number of infections crossing 27 million by Wednesday, although Saha said that the disease has not significantly affected the farmer sit-ins
“A few people have had Covid, but not as many as you would expect. (…) There have been some deaths, around 3-4 people have died,” he said.
However, local broadcasters aired images of farmers gathering in large numbers for meetings without maintaining a safe distance from each other and at times without wearing masks.
The unending protests were sparked by the government’s controversial legal reforms that, according to peasants, lay the foundations for them to sell their harvest directly to private players without a government guarantee on minimum support price.
The government has, however, assured that they would maintain the MSP – which guarantees subsidized purchase of 22 crops – and the final price will only vary if it benefits the peasant. EFE