Indian Farmers Prepare to Resume Protest March Towards New Delhi

Wed Feb 21 2024
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NEW DELHI: Thousands of Indian farmers, riding tractors and determined to assert their demands for higher crop prices, geared up to recommence their journey towards the capital on Wednesday after negotiations with the government failed to yield results.

The protest, reminiscent of the yearlong blockade of highways into New Delhi in 2021, aims to exert pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to address their grievances regarding agricultural reform.

Despite facing resistance from police forces near the village of Shambhu, where a blockade has been erected, protesters remain resolute in their determination to reach Delhi.

“We assure you that we will break the barriers,” affirmed farmer Jagmohan Singh, expressing the collective determination to persist until their demands are met.

Central to their demands is the enactment of legislation to establish a minimum price for all crops, along with additional concessions such as loan waivers and pensions for elderly farmers.

Negotiations between farm unions and government representatives have thus far failed to produce a resolution, with the latest proposal to expand price guarantees deemed insufficient by protest leaders.

The agricultural sector, which sustains two-thirds of India’s population and contributes significantly to the GDP, continues to grapple with stagnant incomes and the challenges posed by climate change.

The renewed protests underscore the enduring influence of farmers in Indian politics, setting the stage for potential disruptions ahead of the upcoming national elections.

In a notable concession, Modi’s government previously suspended agricultural reform laws in response to mass protests in 2021, highlighting the potency of farmers’ collective action.

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