World Indian farmers defiant as police order closure of protest camp
A Melbourne Uni graduate 'shot' by police during protests in New Delhi
A Melbourne University graduate who had gone back to India to visit after getting married and became stuck there due to Covid has allegedly been shot in the head by police in a protest.Navreet Singh, 25, was driving a tractor when he was killed after the rally on Republic Day last week descended into violent police clashes.
Farmers at main protest sites on the outskirts of India’s capital, New Delhi, are defiant as authorities call for an end to their months-long sit-in against new farm laws in the wake of violence in the city.
Authorities in Uttar Pradesh state, which neighbours the capital, on Thursday called for one camp in particular – the Ghazipur camp – to be cleared. But the farmers said they would not budge.
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.
“Even if the police comes, we will sit here, peacefully, until the laws are repealed,” Bhagwant Singh, 53, a farmer from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, told the AFP news agency at the site.
Indian media reports on Friday morning said hundreds of farmers remained at Ghazipur border through the night, while more from neighbouring districts are expected to join them later in the day.
On Thursday evening, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait issued an emotional appeal to the nation to support their protest and declared he is “ready to face bullets” if needed.
Police sealed the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border, while two key borders where farmers are protesting – Singhu, the epicentre of the two-month-old protests and Tikri – have been placed under heavy security.
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.
Tensions were high at the Singhu camp with many protesters carrying a stick, sword or axe – and even enormous ladles used in giant cooking pots at the camp’s kitchens – while regular announcements over a public annoucement system in Punjabi told people to stay awake and alert.
The police order to close Ghazipur camp came after thousands of farmers on tractors went on a rampage in Delhi on Republic Day on Tuesday, leaving one person dead and at least 400 injured.
A day later, farmer unions scrapped next week’s planned march on parliament on February 1, the day when the government unveils its annual budget, although nationwide rallies were still planned on Sunday.
Two roads blocked by the protesters for weeks were cleared late Wednesday as two unions out of the 42 representing the farmers withdrew from the protest, each blaming other groups for Tuesday’s events.
“I am so ashamed and sad about [Tuesday] that I announce an end to our 58-day-long sit-in protest at this [Delhi] border,” one union leader, Bhanu Pratap Singh, announced on Wednesday.
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.
Delhi police have signalled a tough line, saying they are studying footage and using face-recognition technology to identify and arrest those involved in the violence.
On Wednesday, police commissioner SN Shrivastava said the farmer unions, having promised that Tuesday’s tractor rallies would stick to agreed routes, had “backstabbed” the authorities.
“It was a minor blip. The government planned it and changed the direction of our tractor march, and they intentionally directed us towards the city centre,” Baljinder Singh, 32, from the northern state of Punjab, told AFP on Wednesday at Singhu.
Twitter has also suspended several hundred accounts, most of them outside India, which were sharing “fake and inflammatory” reports to incite religious or regional violence around the protest, Shrivastava said.
Farming has long been a political minefield, with nearly 70 percent of the 1.3-billion-strong population drawing their livelihood from agriculture.
The government says the industry is incredibly inefficient and in need of reform. But protesters fear the new laws deregulating the sector will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
Rihanna, Greta Thunberg anger India by backing protesting farmers .
Pop superstar Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg drew the ire of the Indian government Wednesday after they tweeted in support of the massive farmers' protest against new agriculture laws. Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of India's capital New Delhi since November, calling for a repeal of laws they fear will allow large corporations to crush them. Rihanna, who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, wrote "why aren't we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest", with a link to a news story about a government crackdown that included an internet blackout.