Tens of thousands of protesting farmers plan to blockade major roads across India for three hours on Saturday 6 February. It’s an attempt to press their demands for the repeal of new agricultural laws in the country.
Authorities deployed thousands of security forces mainly outside India’s capital New Delhi. Farmers have camped at three main sites there for more than two months.
They say they will not leave until the government rolls back the laws it says are necessary to modernise Indian agriculture.
The scheduled highway blockade is set to start at noon local time (6.30am GMT).
Several rounds of talks between farmers with the government have failed to produce any breakthroughs.
The farmers say the laws will leave them poorer and at the mercy of corporations. Their action is a major challenge to prime minister Narendra Modi.
On Friday 5 February, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar defended the laws in parliament, dampening hopes of a quick settlement as he made no new offer to resume talks with the farmers.
The largely peaceful rally turned violent on 26 January, India’s Republic Day, when a group of farmers riding tractors veered from the protest route and stormed the 17th century Red Fort.
A protester died and scores of farmers were injured. Police officers were also reportedly injured.
Farmers’ leaders condemned the violence, but said they would not call off the protest.
Since then, authorities have heavily increased security at protest sites outside New Delhi’s border, adding iron spikes and steel barricades to stop the farmers from entering the capital.
Featured image via AP
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop