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Indian Farmers Resume Protest March Towards Delhi To Gain Crops Minimum Price Guarantee

Due to this protest, security has been tightened in the capital city with barricades and policemen.

Thousands of Indian farmers are resuming their march towards the capital city of Delhi, renewing their demands for minimum price guarantees for their crops.

The farmers had temporarily halted their protest at the end of February following the tragic death of a young farmer during the demonstrations.

In anticipation of the farmers’ march, Delhi’s borders have been heavily fortified with barricades, and a significant police presence has been deployed to prevent their entry into the city. These renewed protests come at a critical juncture for India, as the country is approaching general elections.

Farmers constitute a crucial voting bloc in India, and political analysts speculate that the federal government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would be reluctant to antagonize them, especially in the run-up to the polls.

Efforts to dissuade the farmers from marching to Delhi have been ongoing since the protests resumed in February. Despite several rounds of talks between the government and farm unions, negotiations broke down multiple times as the authorities failed to meet all of the farmers’ demands.

Among the key demands of the farmers are minimum price guarantees for crops, pensions for the elderly, debt waivers, and an increase in the number of work days under the rural employment guarantee scheme.

Additionally, the protesters are calling for India’s withdrawal from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the scrapping of free trade agreements.

On Wednesday, farmers from across the country are expected to converge in Delhi using public transportation, including metros and buses. Additionally, the farmers called for a “rail roko” protest which is planned for March 10, during which trains will be halted for four hours.

These protests stem from the 2020 farmers’ protests, which saw widespread demonstrations in Delhi. At that time, farmers were protesting against proposed farm laws that they feared would disadvantage them by opening up agricultural markets to big corporations.

Although the government withdrew the proposed laws in November 2021, following months of protests, farmers allege that the government has reneged on other promises made during negotiations, including the implementation of minimum support prices for all crops.

The protests turned violent in February, with police using tear gas to disperse demonstrators, and a young farmer losing his life at the Punjab border. His death sparked outrage, leading to the suspension of protests until the end of February, as a mark of respect.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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