India World

Tens of thousands of farmers marching to Delhi greeted with barbed wire barricades, tear gas and water cannons

Tens of thousands of farmers from the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab are marching to New Delhi, the capital city to protest against new farm laws were greeted with barbed wire barricades, tear gas and water cannons from government security forces.

The farmers pushed barricades as they crossed into neighbouring Haryana state on Thursday, clashing with riot police. Authorities halted metro services to stop farmers from reaching the protesting venue at Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan.

A heavy layer of security has surrounded Delhi. Security forces have deployed drone cameras at the Delhi-Haryana border.

Organisations expect thousands of farmers to join the protests dubbed as Chalo Delhi (let’s go to Delhi). Many of them are travelling on foot and tractors. Social media is flooded with images of the serpentine long agitation.

New Farm Laws:

The Narendra Modi government passed three farm bills in September. The laws loosen rules around sale, pricing and storage of farm produce – something that has protected Indian farmers from the free market for decades.

Most farmers sell the majority of their produce at government-controlled wholesale markets at an assured floor price called the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Farmers are worried that market forces will eventually dictate prices and that the government will remove MSP, leaving farmers in the lurch.

The government however denies that the reforms, which open the farming sector to private players, will hurt farmers.

The Modi government claims that these reforms are necessary to increase farm incomes and productivity.

Farmers say they will continue to protest until the government rolls back these laws.