Conflicts & War

Indian farmers remove makeshift camps after 1 year of protest

New Delhi, Dec 11 (EFE).- Thousands of Indian farmers on Saturday began to remove their protest camps on the outskirts of New Delhi after calling an end to successful demonstrations against agricultural reform.

 “Preparations underway to give a big welcome to the farmers!” Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an organization made up of dozens of farmers’ unions, posted on Twitter.

  “Preparations are being made in villages in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to welcome and celebrate the return of the brave farmers who took victory after a year,” it added.

New Delhi’s NDTV showed footage of protesters dismantling makeshift camps in Ghazipur, one of several access points to the capital that was occupied for just over a year.

The agricultural unions promoting the protests announced the end of the protest on Thursday following the government’s decision to repeal three laws that sought to liberalize agricultural trade.

As well as from the annulment of the laws, farmers had a number of other demands met including the revision of minimum support prices on production, a government policy created to protect the value of crops from market fluctuations.

Despite the year-long protests, the government has vehemently defended the three laws, claiming they would give new impetus to the agricultural sector and give farmers more power to access the market.

These laws would have relaxed a series of rules on the minimum support price, storage, and negotiation with industry, which had prevented the entry of the agriculture sector into the free market.

Farmers, however, viewed the reforms as against their interest as they would have left them at the mercy of large enterprises.

The decision to repeal the laws comes months ahead of the regional legislative elections in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, two agricultural states where rural discontent could prove decisive. EFE

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