World Indian farmers call off parliament march after deadly violence
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.
Indian farmers on Wednesday called off a march to parliament on February 1, the day of the government’s budget announcement, following violent clashes with police a day earlier that left one person 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.
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.
On Tuesday, a protest parade of tractors around the fringes of the capital to coincide with Republic Day celebrations turned into chaos when some farmers diverged from agreed routes and broke through barricades.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the group of farm unions organising the protests, condemned the violence which saw protesters – some carrying ceremonial swords – storm into the historic Red Fort complex as police used tear gas and batons to constrain them.
It said on Wednesday the unions would hold rallies and a hunger strike on Saturday but there would be no planned events on Monday, when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is due to present the annual budget.
“Our march to parliament has been postponed,” farm leader Balbir Rajewal told a news conference. “[But] our movement will go on.”
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.
At a separate news conference, Delhi’s chief of police SN Srivastava said 394 police officers and constables had been injured in the violence.
“The violence occurred because terms and conditions were not followed,” he said. “Farmer leaders were involved in the violence.”
More than 25 criminal cases had been filed, with 19 arrests and 50 people detained to date, Srivastava added.
It was not clear how many protesters had been injured but one farmer died after his tractor overturned during the clashes.
Leaders of the farmers’ unions bemoaned the violent turn protests took, saying it undermined their cause.
“These incidents have only delayed our fight,” said farmer leader Darshan Pal.
Agriculture employs about half of India’s population of 1.3 billion and unrest among an estimated 150 million land-owning farmers is one of the biggest tests Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced since coming to power in 2014.
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.
While the protests are beginning to undermine support for Modi in the countryside, he retains a solid majority in parliament and his government has shown no sign of bending to farmers’ demands.
The government says the agriculture laws will open up new opportunities for farmers.
‘It all happened suddenly’
During a huge “tractor rally” on Tuesday, several hundred demonstrators breached the outer walls of Delhi’s Red Fort – one of its most recognisable landmarks – before raising flags from the ramparts and clashing with police.
Among those who reached the fort was Vikramjit Singh, who said farmers had not originally planned to storm the historic complex, a favourite tourist attraction where prime ministers deliver the annual Independence Day speech.
“Nobody had given a call to go to Red Fort,” said Singh, a farmer from Punjab’s Tarn Taran district. “It all happened suddenly.”
The events came after protest leaders held lengthy talks with police and promised an enormous but peaceful rally along a pre-determined route.
Balbir Singh Rajewal, a protest leader, said the demonstrations had been hijacked by a tiny minority.
“Ninety-nine percent of the protesters were peaceful,” he told reporters.
Police had removed protesters from the Red Fort complex by Tuesday evening, but a heavy security presence remained on Wednesday.
Roads across the New Delhi remained closed while extra police, including paramilitary units, were at protest sites on the outskirts.
The government blocked the internet in some parts of the capital and mobile speeds were low.
Farm leaders from the eastern state of Odisha to the western state of Gujarat said on Wednesday they would continue to support protesters in Delhi.
“We have already made it clear that we want all three agriculture bills to be repealed,” said Raman Randhawa, a farm leader from Rajasthan state.
“We will not step back before the laws are scrapped totally by the government.”
The Indian government and its supporters are attacking Western celebrities for supporting the farmers' protests .
India's government has slammed Western celebrities for backing the farmers protesting in New Delhi. Farmers say the government's proposed reforms to agricultural laws will leave them poorer. Pro-government crowds burned photos of Rihanna and Greta Thunberg on Thursday. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. The Indian government has launched an attack on Western celebrities, with some supporters burning their photos, for publicly supporting mass protests by farmers.