News

Farmers Protest in Delhi, India

By: Audrey Trivedi — Correspondent

Thousands of farmers have been protesting in the streets of Delhi, India in what the Times of India describes as India’s capital insurrection moment. The concerns raised are because of the new market reforms being implemented by Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister. Many farmers fear that these farming sector reforms will leave them even further as they worry that they will no longer guarantee prices for essential crops. 

“Leaving farmers to the mercy of the markets would be like a death sentence to them,” Devindar Sharma, an agricultural expert, said to the Associated Press.

The farmers of much of India are already poor and frustrated over the current decline in their market. 

“Agriculture has turned into a slow poison. It’s better to die fighting here,” said Ringhu Yaspal, someone helping wash the farmer’s clothing, to the New York Times.

Jagtar Singh Bajwa, a farm leader from Uttarakhand, says that they refuse to say that they are tired, nor go home.

“It is clear from the government side that these leaders are not going for a solution; they are continuously wanting to create a movement against the government,” said Gopal Krishna Agarwal, a spokesman of Modi’s party, to the New York Times. 

While the protests at the capitol on India’s Republic day were initially meant to be peaceful, there was a clash with the police after some farmers began the march early.

“The farmers began tractor rally before the scheduled time, they also resorted to violence and vandalism,” said Eish Singal, a police officer in New Delhi, in a Vox article.

“It has been an orderly, peaceful, lawful protest until now. If some elements have broken the peace and created a situation of anarchy, the leaders will have to do some damage resolution and rise to the challenge,” Dr. Rajendron, a historian, said to the BBC.

Agarwal says that they understand the side of the farming community, but the protesters bear the responsibility for the violence last Tuesday.

“These protests are a good illustration of what happens when institutional spaces of deliberation and consultation are reduced or even willfully ignored,” said Gilles Verniers, a professor of political science to the New York Times.

Since they are purposefully being ignored, Verniers says that these farmers have no other opportunity to be heard besides taking to the streets. 

“Such protests actually do not lead to a renewal or reprise of dialogue, since the government locked itself in a posture of unilateral decision that would make actual dialogue appear as a sign of weakness,” said Verniers.

Suriner Singh Jodhka, a professor of sociology, says to the New York Times that the mainstream media sees this as a betrayal and a setback, but there are a large number of issues that have yet to be concluded, so the protests remain.

“Maybe the radical approach was finding currency with many followers. The government also allowed the pressure to build up. After the violence, the leaders have lost credibility. Their right to represent the farmers will be questioned,” KC Singh, a former diplomat, told a reporter at BBC.

Rajendron tells the BBC that more negotiations and communications are the only way to repair the trust and solve these issues.

image from en.gaonconnection.com

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