World At historic fort, India farmers raise flag and vow to battle on
India ready to put farm laws on hold for 18 months
This government proposal comes after multiple rounds of failed talks between both sides. Talking to the media after the meeting, farmer group leaders said the government is ready to form a special panel to review demands for minimum support price (MSP), and the laws. The farmer groups have repeatedly said that they will settle for nothing less than a repeal of the laws, and the government has ruled out any rollback.The government has said the reforms will not hurt farmers.
Armed with a spear and a sword, farmer Sher Singh climbed over the main gate of India's historic Red Fort and raised a Sikh religious flag to the cheers of a large crowd of protesters.
Thousands of farmers poured into New Delhi Tuesday, heading to the fort in the heart of the city where Singh emerged as a symbol of their push against India's agricultural reforms.
The farmers' protest coincided with Republic Day -- synonymous with ceremonial splendour and military parades -- but the agricultural workers, bashing through barricades on their tractors, were not there to celebrate.
Heavy security, roads closed after Delhi farmer riots
Indian police imposed heavy security and closed several main roads around New Delhi on Wednesday a day after farmers went on the rampage the capital, leaving one person dead and dozens injured. The violence marked a dramatic escalation in a standoff between the government and thousands of farmers camped out on the outskirts of the city since late November. The farmers, mostly from northern Indian states including Punjab, want new agricultural reforms scrapped that they fear will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
The day's demonstrations marked the culmination of a larger two-month protest to overturn laws deregulating their sector, the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rule in six years.
Modi's Hindu-nationalist government has enacted a raft of sweeping and controversial reforms since coming to power in 2014, which have triggered street battles, including in Delhi.
The farming reforms have touched a raw nerve in the vast nation of 1.3 billion people, where nearly 70 percent of the population draws its livelihood from the sector.
Heavy security, roads closed after Delhi farmer riots
Indian police imposed heavy security and closed several main roads around New Delhi on Wednesday, a day after farmers went on the rampage in the capital, leaving one person dead and several hundred injured. On Wednesday morning a number of major roads were blocked as police and security forces set up barricades, leading to major traffic congestion. Riot police were stationed near the Red Fort.- Blow for Modi -The unrest was a major embarrassment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government, for whom the farmer protests represent the biggest challenge since coming to power in 2014.
On a day when the capital holds its biggest military pageant, the rush of tractors to central Delhi and the efforts to take over the iconic fort marked a symbolic victory for farmers.
The site is not just the former seat of power for the Mughal empire, but also where the prime minister raises the national flag on India's independence day.
Locals came out of their homes to watch the tractors roll down the Delhi streets, lining up on both sides of the road to offer water and other refreshments. Some even showered them with flower petals.
- 'Ready to die' -
Singh, a "Nihang" Sikh warrior wearing an electric-blue robe and a foot-high turban, had a clear message for the government.
"We're ready to die. This government has been ignoring us for long but they can no longer do that," Singh told AFP at the 400-year-old fort.
Indian farmers call off parliament march after deadly violence
February 1 protest when government presents budget postponed following clashes that left one dead and hundreds injured.Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of New Delhi for two months to demand the withdrawal of three farm laws passed last year, which they say benefit big private buyers at the expense of growers.
"This is a historic day... We are not fighting the tricolour (flag) but Modi's ego. Our flags symbolise that India is for everyone not just Modi and his party or his rich friends."
Around him, other Nihang and farmers -- many from the northern state of Punjab -- wielded ceremonial weapons including swords, daggers and even a medieval-style morning star.
Nearby, more than a dozen barefoot Nihang sat astride horses and perform gatka, an ancient martial art as others beat drums.
Tens of thousands of farmers have held sit-ins on key roads into Delhi after being blocked from marching into the capital in late November over the laws.
Modi has said the changes would allow farmers to sell to private buyers instead of just at state markets.
But the demonstrators -- mostly from states in northern India near Delhi -- fear that under the new system, large corporations would squeeze them for profits and destroy their livelihoods.
Emotions were high among the protesters, who feel the government is selling them out to big companies.
At the fort -- a UNESCO World Heritage site built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who also erected the Taj Mahal in the mid-1600s -- scores of police watched silently as thousands of farmers crowded into the structure.
India’s Haryana state blocks internet amid farmer protest clashes
Supporters of India’s governing BJP accused of attacking farmers who are protesting against new laws.Mobile internet in 15 of 22 districts in Haryana state bordering the capital New Delhi will be unavailable until 17:00 local time on Saturday, according to a circular from the state government.
"We have been peaceful (in our protests) all the time but the government thought we are powerless. In a democracy the power lies with the people," a farmer from the northern state of Punjab, Avtar Singh, told AFP.
"We stand for our rights and demands and will leave Delhi only once the government accepts them. This fight is long and we are ready to sacrifice our lives for the cause."
Rajesh Kumar, 45, a farmer from a Sonipat village in the northern state of Haryana, said he had been camped at Singhu border since November 26, the first day of the protests.
"Everyone is proud of us back home and two hundred tractors came from our village," Kumar told AFP, adding that he would stay in the capital until February 1, the day the government releases its annual budget and when farmers said they would march on foot to parliament.
"For two months we were protesting at the border and today, I feel relieved that I have come all the way here to Red Fort. I never thought I would come here."
The Big Tech takeover of agriculture is dangerous .
It will endanger the livelihood of the world’s small farmers and food workers and completely transform our food systems.Meanwhile, across the border in India, millions of farmers were refusing to vacate the streets of New Delhi. They had been protesting for months, stubbornly defying the central government’s attempt to impose reforms that would put them at the mercy of giant corporations.