New Delhi, Aug 22 (EFE).- Hundreds of Indian farmers on Monday marched in the center of the capital, reviving the protests that had rocked the nation last year, urging the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect their livelihoods from large corporations.
The farmers gathered at Jantar Mantar, the common protest site in central New Delhi on a call by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha – an umbrella body of over 60 farmers’ unions and organizations – one of the organizers, Baldev Singh, told reporters.
The organizers said that over 10,000 farmers from national and regional groups had arrived in the capital to urge the government to fulfill its promises from last year, when protesters had agreed to end a 15-month long siege of Delhi’s border after the authorities promised to fulfill their demands.
The farmers have asked the government to enact a law guaranteeing the minimum purchase price of their crops, a policy aimed at protecting the peasants from market fluctuations.
The demand was part of a charter that mobilized massive street protests that lasted until late 2021 and were suspended after their main demand – the withdrawal of controversial legal reforms allegedly aimed at ensuring big corporates’ control on agriculture – was met.
On Monday, the protesters warned that the movement would intensify if their demands were not met, although the gathering was much smaller than last year, when hundreds of groups had mobilized events across the country.
A SKM leader, Rakesh Tikait, tweeted that the struggle would “continue until the last breath” and would pick up speed in the coming days.
However, Hannan Mollah, the general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha – one of the main constituents’ of last year’s movement – told EFE that Monday’s march was called by a small dissident farmers’ group, distancing other SKM constituents from the initiative.
Mollah said a unified mobilization of all the farmers’ group would be called in the first week of September, after the leaders agree on a joint course of action.
Monday’s protest was held amid heavy security measures by the Delhi police, which deployed personnel at all entry points to the city. EFE