NEW DELHI – Indian farmers, protesting three new agricultural laws they say threaten their livelihoods, will start a sit-in near Parliament in the center of the capital New Delhi to pressure the government to repeal the laws. .
Thousands of farmers have camped on major highways leading to New Delhi for more than seven months, in the longest-running protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
As India’s monsoon session of Parliament began this week, some protesting farmers tried to march towards the main government district, but were stopped by police just a few miles from Parliament.
On Thursday, 200 protesters will gather at Jantar Mantar, a large Mughal-era observatory in central New Delhi that doubles as a protest site for all sorts of reasons.
Balbir Singh Rajewal, a prominent farmer leader, said, “During the entire monsoon session of Parliament, 200 farmers will visit Jantar Mantar every day to remind the farmers’ parliament of our long-pending demand.”
The monsoon session of Parliament will end in early August. After lengthy talks, the Delhi Police has agreed to allow 200 farmers to assemble at Jantar Mantar during the day, but the protesters were asked to follow the coronavirus guidelines issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, a government statement said. Needed.
In late January, thousands of angry farmers driving their tractors into safety barriers clashed with police. One demonstrator was killed, and more than 80 police officers were injured across the city.
Farmers say the laws favor large private retailers, who were not allowed to buy agricultural goods outside government-controlled wholesale grain markets before the new laws.
The government says the laws introduced in September 2020 will prevent farmers from selling their produce only in regulated wholesale markets.
It argues that farmers would benefit if large traders, retailers and food processors could buy directly from producers.