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Indian farmers drive plows to protest in the capital

Thousands of farmers confronted police across the Indian capital New Delhi during a protest against agricultural reform in the midst of the ongoing Republican Day parade (January 26). Police have set up security barriers and obstacles in many parts of the city to prevent crowds of farmers protesting near Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he went to witness the parade.

However, after breaking through the obstacles, thousands of farmers and motorbikes swarmed the roads in the capital, storming the historic Red Fort, forcing the police to use tear gas.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the police headquarters and brawled with the police officers. Modi was returned to the prime minister's residence just 30 minutes before the crowd moved into the centre of the capital.

Tens of thousands of farmers have been entrenched in the suburbs of New Delhi since November 2020, opposing a new agricultural law that the government says will help increase farmers' incomes. Farmers' representatives said they had enough food to stay entrenched in New Delhi for at least a year.

In September 2020, India passed a law that allows farmers to freely sell agricultural products to the market instead of just selling them to state-controlled wholesale markets.

However, farmers believe that this law allows big companies to manipulate the market and buy agricultural products at low prices. Meanwhile, if farmers sell agricultural products to the state-managed wholesale market, farmers will be subsidised.

Indian ministers have had 10 rounds of negotiations with farmers, but so far cannot solve the problem.

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Key questions

  1. What is your opinion on the farmer’s protest in New Delhi?

  2. What do you think is the reason why farmers are revolting violently in India?

  3. Why should or shouldn’t we support farmer protests in India?

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