NEW DELHI, July 22 (Reuters) – Indian farmers, protesting against three new farm laws they say threaten their livelihoods, will start a sit-in near parliament in the center of the capital New Delhi in an attempt to pressure on the government to repeal the laws.
In the longest-running protest by producers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, tens of thousands of farmers camped on major highways leading to New Delhi for more than seven months.
As the monsoon session of the Indian parliament began this week, some protesting farmers attempted to march towards the main government district, but were stopped by police a few kilometers from the parliament.
On Thursday, 200 protesters will gather at Jantar Mantar, a large Mughal-era observatory in central New Delhi that also serves as a site of protest for causes of all kinds.
“Throughout the monsoon session of parliament, 200 farmers will travel to Jantar Mantar every day to hold a farmers ‘parliament to remind the government of our longstanding demand,” said Balbir Singh Rajewal, a farmers’ leader.
The monsoon session of parliament will end in early August.
After protracted negotiations, Delhi police agreed to let 200 farmers gather during the day at Jantar Mantar, but protesters must follow coronavirus guidelines issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, according to a government statement.
In late January, thousands of angry farmers clashed with police after driving their tractors through security barriers. A protester was killed and more than 80 police officers were injured across the city. Read more
Farmers say the laws favor large private retailers who, before the new laws, were not allowed to source agricultural products outside of government-regulated wholesale grain markets. Read more
The government says the laws, introduced in September 2020, will prevent farmers from selling their produce only in regulated wholesale markets.
He argues that farmers will win if large traders, retailers and food processors can buy directly from producers.
Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Michael Perry
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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