Conflicts & War

Indian farmers threaten more blockades after a year of protests

New Delhi, Nov 1 (EFE).- Peasants threatened Monday to block roads to the Indian capital if the government does not repeal the controversial agriculture reforms that seek to liberalize the sector before Nov.27, a day after the protests began against the new laws they consider unjust.

“The central government has time until Nov.26 (to repeal the laws). After that, from Nov.27, farmers will reach the protest sites around the Delhi border by tractors from villages, and with concrete fortifications, strengthen the protest,” tweeted Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of the farmers’ union Bhartiya Kisan Union.

On Sunday, Tikait warned the Indian authorities of consequences if they tried to forcefully remove demonstrators who have camped on the Delhi border for almost a year.

Tensions between the Indian government and the peasants have escalated in recent weeks, especially after a protest on Oct.3 in northern India, in which at least eight people died due a clash between farmers and politicians of the ruling party BJP.

Peasants began their protests in November last year against three laws that they believe leave producers at the mercy of the free market, with no guarantees of protection.

The government, however, claims these new laws seek to give farmers the ability to negotiate prices directly with buyers, without hindrance or intermediaries.

The two sides held negotiations earlier this year, and the government said it was willing to make some changes to the laws. However, the talks failed as the peasants demanded a total repeal.

The Supreme Court suspended the reforms in January, following months of protests, and established a committee to discuss the impact of the measures with the parties involved.

Meanwhile, peasants have sustained the movement by holding mass assemblies in several northern states and expressed willingness to continue the struggle. EFE


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