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Delhi Chalo: Farmers march to India’s capital to protest controversial farm bills

By:
Vaneet Kaur (@veekaur_)

Farmers from all across India have been peacefully protesting in New Delhi in response to “agricultural laws that they say could destroy their livelihoods.”

The protests come as farmers push for stronger protection of their rights, in response to a controversial bill passed in September, that would leave farmers vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations.

In a previous 5X Press article written by Jeevan Sangha,  we outlined why farmers are protesting, and why the bill would negatively impact them.

According to Sangha,  “the idea behind this, is to let the free market take control and allow the forces of supply and demand dictate market prices. However, if minimum support prices for crops are not promised, it could further push people into debt and poverty.”

“Farmers are the backbone of the country, yet they are intensely victim to skyrocketing agricultural costs (including fertilizer and fuel costs raised by Modi) which force farmers to fall further into debt, sparking rampant suicide in the country.”

While the protests are not new, they have certainly grown in scope and gained traction, with millions joining the march to India’s capital in demonstration.

Farmers have been protesting to put pressure on the Central Government to rescind laws that have been impacting the way farmers are able to sell their crops.

Farmers have been protesting by barricading main entry and exit points of Delhi to cut off resources coming and going into and out of Delhi, as a way to put more pressure on the Central Government to hear out the demands of the farmers protesting.

According to CNN, “Police attempted to block demonstrators from entering the city. They fired tear gas and water cannons Thursday and Friday after protesters pelted police officers with stones and damaged public property, according to Manoj Yadav, a senior police official from Haryana.”

According to a New York Times piece:

“The Modi administration has indicated that it will not talk to the protesting farmers unless they move to a fairground on New Delhi’s outskirts and stop blocking the highways.
But the farmers have said that they will not move their tractors or trailers until negotiations start. They are digging in, resupplying themselves with food, fuel, firewood and medical supplies to stay put for weeks.”

The realities of these peaceful protests have been gruesome for kisaans, as they have had to endure police brutality even though the protests have been peaceful thus far. Being attacked with water cannons, tear gas, and police beatings, where numerous kisaans have been injured and two have been reported dead, as shaheeds that fought in this movement.

But the relationship to the land remains paramount to this fight, says one man interviewed by the NYT.

“Our land is our mother,” said Mr. Singh, growing emotional as he talked about the new policies, which he saw as part of an effort to hand farmers’ land over to big business. “It was passed on to us from our parents, who got it from their parents, and now Modi wants to acquire it and give it away to his rich friends.”

While reporters and journalists in India covering these protests have been documenting what is taking place on ground, some have alleged that mainstream media and major news outlets have been spinning the truth. It has been voiced by some kisaans that in order to obtain true information about what is truly taking place, is to tune into local news outlets or social media.

In Canada, political party  leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,  NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, have also released statements in regard to the kisaan movement, expressing their concern at the government’s action and in support of the right to peaceful protest

Social media has also been flooded with support highlighting events taking place in Delhi right now, with  infographics that explain why farmers are protesting, why this matters, and why the history of the land is so important.

The youth of the diaspora are mobilizing to get the message across, spread awareness, raise funds, and continue to stay informed.

While the mass spread of information is great, Kisaans still need our support!

We can continue to provide that support by sharing posts on social media to keep raising awareness of the struggles our elders are facing with this protest, and donating to aid organizations that can offer kisaans the resources they need to stay safe.

Here are ways in which you can help and pages that will keep you up to date on what is happening with the Kisaan Movement:

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