New Delhi: In spite of being the soft power of India, farmers are compelled to take to the streets protesting against the new farm laws. Since their talks with the government on Tuesday yielded no results, farmers have now demanded that a special session of Parliament be called to withdraw the new laws. They have also threatened to block many roads in Delhi and nearby cities if their demands are not met.
The Singhu and Tikari borders of the national capital are already closed due to the congregation of a large number of farmers from Punjab and Haryana. On Wednesday afternoon, several routes connecting Delhi and Noida were also closed which were later opened, but the day witnessed heavy traffic jams on the majority of these routes. If you have been using these routes, you should leave your house after taking traffic updates in the next few days.
If we look at updates related to farmers’ protest, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Amit Shah will also meet Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday, ahead of the next round of talks with the representatives of the agitating farmers.
The Union Agriculture Minister assured the farmers that the government is looking at the extent to which the matter can be resolved through dialogue. The farmers, however, stated that if the government failed to listen to them, all the roads in Delhi will be jammed.
Rallies are being organized not only in India but also in the countries where people of Indian origin reside to express their solidarity with the farmers. For example, rallies were held in several cities of Canada, while a rally is proposed to be organised in Melbourne, Australia on December 5.
Despite getting support from different walks of life, the matter is far from being resolved though the agitation has entered 7th day on Wednesday. The government had proposed to form a committee asking the farmers to name 5 of their representatives to be included in the panel along with government representatives and agriculture experts to resolve the issue, but farmers rejected it.
Although farmer leaders claim that farmers from different states have joined this movement, the largest number of them, however, are from Punjab. No doubt, farmers have also come from states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, but Sikh farmers are in the majority.
All political parties have started taking advantage of the movement to corner the government. Of these, Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, and Aam Aadmi Party have flayed the government for not giving patient hearing to the demands of the agitating farmers. A lack of a good communication channel between the government and the farmers is being witnessed. There is also a lack of confidence in each other on both sides. The common man is bearing the brunt of this protest as their movement in Delhi and nearby cities were interrupted.
A similar protest by farmers was witnessed in the capital 32 years ago in 1988. Under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Tikait, around 5 lakh farmers had arrived in Delhi with their 35 demands, including the fair price for their crops. In order to stop the agitating farmers, the police had to open firing which two farmers were killed. The government of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi came under heavy pressure and finally it had to accept all the demands of farmers.
Notably, India’s 15 crore farmers account for merely 17 percent of the country’s GDP. They are in fact the soft power of the nation as the food they produce is consumed by crores of people not only in the country but also in more than 100 countries, but they never been a part of the popular culture. As many as 86 percent of Indian farmers still live in a state of poverty and deprived of their natural justice.
The average per month income of farmers in India is only Rs 6400, and this includes the farmers who have less than 5 hectares of land. With the help of new farm laws, the government aims at doubling their income.