Know Why The Indian Farmers Are Protesting?
A set of three laws passed in September aims to deregulate India’s enormous agriculture sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said they will “liberate” farmers from the tyranny of middlemen.
But many farmers fear that they stand to lose more than they could gain from the new regulations and that the main beneficiaries will be agricultural corporations with gargantuan financial firepower.
As a result, the farmers have taken to the streets in the biggest such protests in years.
The demonstrations ramped up last week when several thousand protesters from the northern states of Punjab and Haryana set out to converge on the capital, New Delhi. Police blocked them at the city’s borders, denying them permission to gather in a place of their choice.
What Are The Concerns Farmers Have And The Reason Behind Protesting Against This Law?
The top 4 reason why the farmers are protesting is as below
- Farmers have some genuine concerns.A big one is that the new rules remove many of their safeguards. More than 86 percent of India’s cultivated farmland is controlled by smallholder farmers who own less than two hectares (five acres) of land each. They fear that they just do not have enough bargaining power to get the kinds of prices they need for a decent standard of living when they negotiate to sell their produce to larger companies.
- One of the new legal provisions says that to resolve disputes, farmers can seek out a so-called conciliation board, district-level administrative officers or an appellate authority. In other words, these cases will not go to a regular court.
- The new laws also do not make written contracts mandatory. So in the case of any violation of their terms, it can be very hard for a farmer to prove that he or she has been aggrieved, giving them little recourse.
- The new rules do not guarantee any minimum price for any product, and farmers worry that the existing MSP will be abolished at some point.
Farmers Have Also Concern That The ‘National Media Are Not With Us’
A small group of farmers held up placards criticising the national media for calling them, terrorists.
“Do we have any weapons?” asked 26-year-old Prabhjit Singh, a farmer from Ludhiana in Punjab. “On whose behalf are they saying that we are terrorists? We are farmers, educated farmers.”
Another man contended that the national media was not reporting on the protests truthfully. “The national media is not with us…Aaj Tak, Zee News, ABP,” said 34-year-old Sukhchain Singh, who had come from Ambala in Haryana.
Sukhchain Singh explained why accurate reporting was essential. “The day the stock limit gets over, that is the day the common man will die,” he said. He was referring to the provision in one of the new laws that lift limits on the quantities of stocks of essential commodities like cereals and pulses that traders can hold.
“The common man is not yet aware of how this will impact them,” Sukhchain Singh said. “And the national media is not showing it.”
Singh’s journey to Delhi was also marked by water cannon and tear gas in Shahbad, a city between Ambala and Kurukshetra. “My foot slipped under the tyre of the tractor and got injured,” he said, displaying his bandaged limb. “The pressure of water is a lot from the cannon.”
BJP leaders have claimed that farmers do not understand the laws properly. Several farmers at the Singhu border dismissed this idea. “I am an illiterate man but let one person even satisfy me as to why this is beneficial,” said Jasbeer Singh.
Several farmers said that they had come prepared to dig in for a prolonged struggle.
As the day drew on at Singhu, the site took on a domestic air. Trucks at the site were piled with utensils, clothes and mattresses. Some people finished the day’s laundry and hung their clothes to dry on a line hung between two tractors.
Joga Singh said that when he got into his tractor in Kapurthala, Punjab, on November 2, his baggage included a gas cylinder, rations for six months, a rolling pin, a mattress and five pairs of clothes.
“Even if we have to sacrifice ourselves to get rid of these black laws, then we will do it,” Joga Singh said on Monday afternoon. “We will sit peacefully even if we have to sit for six months.”