On Thursday, police in New Delhi escorted 200 farmers from protest spots on the outskirts to Jantar Mantar, a large Mughal-era observatory in a central area that doubles as a protest site. The farmers, who started a sit-in in front of the parliament in the capital, renewed a push for repealing of the laws saying that new agriculture laws have threatened their livelihoods.
In the long-running farmer’s protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on major highways leading to New Delhi for more than seven months. Parliament ends its monsoon session early in August, and the farmers have been allowed to gather until Aug. 9. However, farmer’s identity cards were checked by the Police before they were allowed to gather at the central site.
Reuters reported Rakesh Tikait to have stated that “We are here to remind the government again that the anti-farmer laws need to be rolled back to protect Indian agriculture and millions of poor farmers from a complete takeover by large corporations,”. Tikait is a leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, one of the largest grouping of farmers”. Another farmer’s leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “Throughout the monsoon session of the Parliament, 200 farmers will go to Jantar Mantar every day to hold a farmers’ parliament to remind the government of our long-pending demand”.
In the Parliament, key opposition leaders, such as Rahul Gandhi and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, asked the government to tackle the farmers’ concerns and roll back the three controversial laws. Many senior members of the Congress party, which is the main opposition group, gathered in the compound of parliament, carrying placards that read “Save the country, Save the farmers,” and shouting slogans of support.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters in parliament that the farm laws were introduced in September 2020 to help boost growers’ incomes, and the government was willing to talk to the farmers. Farmers, however, say the new laws favor large private retailers by allowing them to buy farm goods outside government-regulated wholesale grain markets.
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