Before India’s farmers rose up in anger, presenting an increasingly difficult challenge to a government already grappling with the coronavirus outbreak and a devastating economic slump, thousands of farmers set their fields on fire. The farmers did this to protest against the three laws which are Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, which came into effect following the approval of Indian president Ram Nath Kovind.
Many Indian farmers believe the recent amendment in farmer laws via the above mentioned three acts lead to lower prices and pave the way for corporate takeovers of their small farms, which average less than three acres in size. Farmer protests that began choking the roads to New Delhi last week have spread, intensifying pressure on Narendra Modi’s government to strike a deal.
In eastern and western states, farmers blocked roads and squatted on railway tracks, delaying hordes of people getting to work, and preventing perishable produce from reaching markets. Farmers from the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, neighbouring New Delhi, have been at the vanguard of the agitation since last month, and have set up protest camps in and around the capital.
The National Highway 24 connecting Delhi and Ghaziabad is shut now, while the nation’s longest National Highway-44 connecting Jammu and Kashmir with South India has additionally been shut at a few spots. The National Highway 9 that interfaces Delhi to Uttar Pradesh has additionally been shut at numerous spots. In Ballabgarh as well, numerous streets have been shut down because of the farmers’ protest. The police have likewise fixed the security on the Tigri outskirt to forestall the passage of farmers into Delhi.
India’s government failed on Saturday to break a deadlock with farmers protesting over agricultural reforms and will meet again on Wednesday, the agriculture minister and union leaders said.
In the meantime, social media has fanned sympathy for the farmers’ cause among the Indian diaspora abroad. During recent days, thousands of people have protested in support of the farmers outside the Indian embassy in central London. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, protest sites around New Delhi have turned into camps, with entire families cooking and sleeping in the open and Sikh religious organisations were providing them with face masks, water and food.
Sikh and Muslim farmers showed interfaith congruity at the farmers’ protest on Monday. In a video shared on Twitter, Muslim farmers in the protest could be seen offering prayers in the city while twelve Sikh farmers were standing close to them, in complete quietness, to let them pray in harmony. Indian writer Rana Ayyub, who uploaded the video, composed on Twitter that the video made her passionate. “Sikh brothers standing in solidarity with Muslims while they offer namaz at the farmers’ protest,” Ayyub composed on Twitter.
Revival of Secessionism in Indian Punjab
In the midst of protests’ fights, an Indian News agency report November 30, indicating photos of a tractor on the Singhu outskirt engraved with ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ motto and an image of AK-47 rifle. The report likewise indicated that Khalistan campaigners expressed that what happened with previous Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would likewise occur with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Within15 hours of indicating that bit of information, rallies were coordinated in New York in support of the protesting farmers of India, and Khalistani banners were waved. The banners and placards had pictures of Indira Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with messages that Indira Gandhi had messed up in 1984 and she suffered for it. It is simply an issue of time that Modi will suffer the same fate.
On the 30th of November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said something about the protesters’ dissent against farmer laws in India, while partaking in a video conference coordinated by Canadian MP Bardish Chagger to stamp the 551st birth commemoration of Guru Nanak, the organizer of the Sikh religion.
Justin Trudeau said, “I know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the right to peaceful protest. We believe in the importance of dialogue and that’s why we’ve reached out through multiple means directly to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns.”
India-House Besieged in London
A large number of Sikhs from all over the United Kingdom laid siege of Indian High Commission in London for almost three in support of Indian farmers peacefully challenging the Farmer Laws.
The Kissan Support Protest call was given by the Federation of Sikh Organizations (FSO) to show solidarity with the protesters from Punjab and across India battling for their survival and future. This was one of the greatest ever dissents by British Indian Sikhs outside the Indian High Commission. Veteran Sikh leaders said this was the second biggest dissent at the scene after the notable dissent held there in the wake of Indian government’s strike on the Golden Temple, killing large number of Sikhs.
A representative for the Sikh Federation UK revealed that the coordinators had told the police and the neighborhood Westminster Council that just around 300 dissidents would amass yet a great many individuals – men, ladies, youth, old and kids began gathering outside the High Commission from 11:00am and remained there till 3:00pm. The dissent was immense to the point that dissidents were showing up at the scene even till 3:00pm. They came in vehicles, farm haulers, substantial bicycles and cycles, bringing areas around Trafalgar Square, Holborn, Oxford Circus to a total stop. It’s assessed that around 700 vehicles were concentrated around the protest setting, numerous protesters were unable to leave in their vehicles till the end of the protest.
The colossal protest was held after a gathering of 36 cross-party parliamentarians in touch with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab requesting that he connect with his Indian counterpart, S Jaishankar, about the effect on British Punjabis influenced by the farmers protests against new law changes in India. The letter has been drafted by British Sikh Labor MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and endorsed by different MPs including previous Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Modi Government is rattled
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party said he had been set under house arrest since Monday by Delhi Police, which is constrained by the national government, after he visited the farmers’ protest site. A video posted on Twitter indicated a Congress pioneer in western Gujarat state riding a bike being pursued by a police vehicle as he looked to join the strike.
The farmers have been fighting the laws for almost two months in Punjab and Haryana. The circumstance heightened a week ago when several thousands walked to New Delhi, where they clashed with police. The laws add to previously existing disdain from farmers, who regularly grumble of being overlooked by the Indian government in their push at better harvest costs, extra production waivers and water system frameworks to ensure water during droughts.
With almost 60% of the Indian populace relying upon agriculture for their survival, the developing farmer defiance has shaken Modi’s government and its allies to the core. Modi and his party’s leaders have attempted to mollify farmers’ feelings of trepidation about the new laws and a group of the leaders of the ruling BJP has called the farmers “misguided” and “anti-national,” a name regularly given to the individuals who scrutinize Modi or his approaches.
The farmers are stanch in their resistance and vow not to leave until the government moves back what they call the “black laws.” Numerous opposition political leaders, activists and even a few leaders of Modi’s party have also called the laws anti-farmer and communicated their solidarity for those dissenting. The Modi government is facing a chaos and is in a dilemma right now. If it moves back the laws, it will be equivalent to caving in to the commoners which will upset the Hindutva elite supporting and financing Modi. If he shows firmness then it is not clear whether his government will be able to take on the massive resistance that is following in the form of the uprising of common citizens against the government.