This is a major protest going on in India and has been since the end of last year, 2020, this article is not for the ones who are already educated on the same but for those who would like to get a brief insight into what’s going on.
What the farmers fear
Farmer unions in Punjab and Haryana say the recent laws enacted at the Centre will dismantle the minimum support price (MSP) system. Over time big corporate houses will dictate terms and farmers will end up getting less for their crops, they argue. Farmers fear that with the virtual disbanding of the mandi system, they will not get an assured price for their crops, and the “arthiyas” — commission agents who also pitch in with loans for them — will be out of business.
NOTE: Minimum Support Price is the price set by the government to purchase crops from the farmers, whatever may be the market price for the crops.
What the farmers demand
The key demand is the withdrawal of the three laws which deregulate the sale of their crops.
They are also pressing for the withdrawal of the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, fearing it will lead to an end to subsidized electricity. Farmers say rules against stubble burning should also not apply to them.
What the government says
The Narendra Modi government says the new laws will give more options to the farmers to sell their crops and get them at better prices.
It has assured that there is no move to end the MSP system, and the new Acts do not refer to it. Before the Delhi Chalo agitation began, the Centre had invited representatives from over 30 farmer unions for a meeting with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on December 3. An earlier meeting on November 15 had remained inconclusive.
On the Indian republic day, the 26th of January, the farmer’s protest took a violent turn.
The farmers had been given permission to hold their tractor rally along designated routes and after the parade at Rajpath was over. However, by 8 am groups of farmers drove their tractors through police barricades at border points, stormed into the capital, and broke from designated routes.
Protesters and police clashed at the ITO junction and inside the iconic Red Fort complex, where flags of Sikh religious significance were raised.
Across parts of the city internet and Metro services in parts of the city were shut down.
We hope this article gave you a better understanding of the farmer’s protest. If you have gotten a better understand, please check out our clothing line, here, which is also based around activism and awareness.
*This article is not meant to reflect any personal opinions for or against either side of the protest and is simply meant for informative purposes.