World, Asia - Pacific

Indian farmers block roads as protest swells

Farmers say new agriculture laws will leave them open to exploitation by big corporations

Shuriah Niazi   | 02.12.2020
Indian farmers block roads as protest swells Farmers from Punjab shout slogans during their Delhi Chalo protest against the newly passed farm bills, at Singhu border in New Delhi, India on November 27, 2020 ( Amarjeet Kumar Singh - Anadolu Agency )

NEW DELHI

Thousands of Indian farmers on Wednesday continued their protest in the capital Delhi against agricultural laws passed in September which they say will destroy their livelihoods.

Security was beefed up at entry points of the capital as farmers from across the country converged on the highways in a bid to join the protests which have entered their seventh day.

Protest in New Delhi

NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 27: Police officers gather to stop farmers coming to Delhi during their Delhi Chalo protest against newly passed farm bills, at Singhu border, in New Delhi, India on November 27, 2020 ( Amarjeet Kumar Singh - Anadolu Agency )

The government held the first round of talks with farmer leaders on Tuesday but could not reach a breakthrough.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar offered to set up a committee comprising experts to address the issue, but this proposal was not accepted.

Parvinder Singh, a protesting farmer, told Anadolu Agency, that they asked for the new laws to be repealed, but the government did not agree.

However, both sides agreed to meet for the next round of talks on Thursday.

The government claims the new laws will give farmers greater autonomy to set their own prices and sell directly to supermarket chains. However, farmers say it would leave them worse off. They are asking the government to define minimum prices for crops so that they are not exploited by big chains.

Darshan Pal, a farmer union leader, said: "The peasants will torch effigies throughout the country on Saturday to protest against corporate houses and the government."

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