Farmers all around India have been protesting the 3 federal laws introduced in September by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which reduces profit made by farmers and deregulates crop pricing. Farmers make up around half of the population in India thus, affecting so many. Protests were led by farmers from Punjab and Haryana and are being supported by other states. The march, which started on Thursday 26th November, moved towards Delhi and went through blockades upon blockades set up by police around the capital.
Around 250 million people have shown support including other unions joining the nationwide strike held on Tuesday 8th December. Farmers and other protesters are demanding the repeal of the new laws whilst Prime Minister Narendra Modi says it will ensure a higher farmer income.
Many farmers feel that the laws benefit big corporations as opposed to the farmers themselves. Not only will it reduce their income but could leave them without land. They stated that they have not been consulted prior to the laws being introduced.
Farmers have camped around the outskirts of New Delhi and have blocked highways for weeks. At the time of writing, 6 rounds of talks between the government and farmer unions have found no solution to the current situation. Farmers have engaged in hunger strikes in hopes of putting even more pressure on the government. The latest proposal indicated amendments to the new laws but were rejected by the farmer unions saying that their demands were not met.
So, what can we do to help? Awareness is key to any situation. Raising your own awareness as well as others around you is important. Reading articles and staying up to date on these issues provides an insight and deeper understanding of how crucial the protests are. In the UK, people have voiced their support of Indian farmers by attending rallies that were held in London, Leicester, and Birmingham. Support has also been seen from Canada, America, and Australia. This puts even more pressure on the government to meet the Indian farmers’ demands and to ensure that their needs are put first.
Indian farmers have been suffering for years but it is only now that we truly see it. Continue to raise awareness and engage in this ongoing battle for the rights of farmers.