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World India cuts internet to hunger-striking farmers

20:21  30 january  2021
20:21  30 january  2021 Source:   bbc.com

India ready to put farm laws on hold for 18 months

  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.

India has suspended mobile internet services in three areas around the capital, Delhi, where farmers are staging a hunger strike in protest at new agriculture laws.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Thousands of farmers blocked a road in Ghazipur near Delhi on Saturday © Getty Images Thousands of farmers blocked a road in Ghazipur near Delhi on Saturday

The government said the shutdown would continue until Sunday night to "maintain public safety".

Tens of thousands of protesting farmers have been camped out on Delhi's outskirts for more than a month.

Talks between unions and the government have failed to break the deadlock.

The protest made international headlines on Tuesday when a tractor rally ended in violent clashes that left one protester dead and dozens of police officers injured. Some demonstrators stormed Delhi's historic Red Fort and occupied it until police pushed them back.

Why are Indian farmers protesting?

  Why are Indian farmers protesting? Indian farmers have for months been camped on the outskirts of New Delhi in protest against new agricultural legislation, and on Tuesday thousands rampaged through the capital in a dramatic escalation of their standoff with the government. AFP examines the laws, why they are contentious and at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's options in his stiffest challenge since coming to power in 2014. - What is the state of Indian agriculture? - India'sAFP examines the laws, why they are contentious and at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's options in his stiffest challenge since coming to power in 2014.

  • What's next for India farmers' protest?
  • How PM Modi misread the mood of India's farmers
  • What has brought India's farmers to the streets?

On Saturday, the interior ministry said mobile internet services had been suspended at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri - the districts where farmers have gathered - until 23:00 (17:30 GMT) on Sunday.

Farmers' leaders said Saturday's one-day hunger strike had been timed to coincide with the anniversary of the death of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

"The farmers' movement was peaceful and will be peaceful," said union leader Darshan Pal.

Protesters themselves reacted angrily to the internet shutdown, Reuters reported. One farmer, Sandee Sharma, accused officials of trying to "create a panic" while another, Bhavesh Yadav, said it was "killing democracy."

What's next for India farmers' protest?

  What's next for India farmers' protest? The future looks uncertain after violence in Delhi, which may cost the movement some credibility.After a rally against farm reforms unexpectedly turned violent on Tuesday, India's farm protests have lost their legitimacy, said one. Accept the government's offer to put the reforms on hold and return home, advised another. Yet another described it as "India's Capitol insurrection" moment.

The government action comes amid rising tensions at the locations where farmers are based.

On Friday, clashes broke out at Singhu when a group of unidentified men approached farmers and reportedly told them to leave.

Farmers say the men threw stones at them and destroyed tents. Several injuries were reported. Indian media said the men were local residents who accused the protesters of disturbing the peace and damaging the local economy.

What are the proposed farming reforms?

The laws loosen rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce which have protected India's farmers from the free market for decades.

Farmers fear that the new laws will threaten decades-old concessions - such as assured prices - and weaken their bargaining power, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by private companies.

a group of people on a grill: Farmers have been camped out around Delhi for weeks © Getty Images Farmers have been camped out around Delhi for weeks

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mod has defended the reforms but the laws have been likened to a "death warrant" by unions.

India’s Haryana state blocks internet amid farmer protest clashes

  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.

Agriculture employs about half of India's 1.3 billion population but the sector accounts for barely a sixth of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) - which measures the value of goods and services produced in the economy.

Analysts say declining productivity and a lack of modernisation have shrunk incomes and hobbled agriculture in India for decades.

The government, meanwhile, provides farmers with subsidies, exempts them from income tax and crop insurance, guarantees a minimum price for many crops and regularly waives debts.

a group of people standing in front of a wire fence: Security forces are keeping a watchful eye on the protesters © Getty Images Security forces are keeping a watchful eye on the protesters

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.

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