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Farmer’s Protest 2.O:Revival of Farmers’ Movement: Demand for Guaranteed MSP Sparks New Wave of Protests Across India

Farmer's Protest 2.O
Farmer's Protest 2.O
(Farmer’s Protest 2.O) , Picture Credit: Rupendra Singh  (2021 taken this photograph)

Farmer’s Protest 2. O: The farmers’ protests in India, which began in late 2020, represented a significant and sustained mobilisation against the Indian government’s agricultural policies. The protests primarily responded to three agricultural laws passed by the Indian Parliament in September 2020. These laws were:

Farmer’s Protest 2.O

1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act: This law aimed to allow farmers to sell their produce outside the traditional Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) mandis (markets). The government argued that this would enable farmers to achieve higher prices through direct sales to buyers. However, farmers were concerned that this would weaken the APMC system, which offered them some protection and guaranteed prices for certain crops.

2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act: This law was designed to facilitate contract farming, allowing farmers to enter into agreements with companies, retailers, or exporters directly before sowing crops. While the government presented this as an opportunity for farmers to secure their income, farmers feared it would make them vulnerable to exploitation by large corporations.

3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act: By deregulating the production, storage, movement, and distribution of certain food items, including cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onions, and potatoes, this amendment sought to attract private investment in agriculture. Farmers were concerned that this could lead to hoarding, skyrocketing prices during shortages, and loss of government control over essential items.

The primary concern among the protesting farmers was that these laws would undermine the minimum support price (MSP) system, which guaranteed them a minimum price for their crops and left them at the mercy of large agribusinesses and corporations. They feared that their livelihoods would be at risk without adequate government support and regulation.

After more than a year of protests, which saw farmers camping at various borders of Delhi through harsh conditions, the Indian government announced in November 2021 that it would repeal the three contentious farm laws. This decision was seen as a significant victory for the farmers’ movement.

However, the issue of MSP remained a concern. Farmers have continued to demand that the government introduce a new law that would guarantee MSP for their produce, ensuring that they are not subjected to market volatility.

These demands have led to sporadic calls for further protests and marches towards the national capital as the farmers seek to secure a more sustainable and secure future for agricultural practices in India.

The movement highlighted the power of collective action and the importance of addressing the needs and concerns of the rural agricultural community in policy-making.

The described scenario illustrates a significant and tense escalation in the farmers’ protests in India, particularly involving farmers from Punjab encountering resistance from the Haryana Police at key border points. This resistance marks a confrontational phase of the protests, with law enforcement using tear gas, water cannons, and other means to prevent the protesters from advancing towards Delhi. The use of such measures indicates the government’s stern stance against the movement of the protests towards the national capital, reflecting the authorities’ concerns over the potential impact and visibility of the protests in Delhi.

The reported injuries on both sides—24 police personnel and over 60 protesters—underscore the intensity of the clashes and the high stakes involved for both the protesting farmers and the state. The farmers’ assertion that discussions with the central government will not proceed until the cessation of hostilities by police forces highlights their demand for respect and safe conditions for dialogue. This stance also indicates a deadlock situation, where the continuation of aggressive tactics by the police could further hinder the possibility of negotiations.

Farmer's Protest 2.O
Picture Credit: Rupendra Singh this photograph taken 2021.

The use of tear gas and allegations of shots being fired at protesters by Haryana Police and paramilitary forces at the Shambhu border signify a severe response to the farmers’ attempts to move towards Delhi. This action, coupled with the emergency meeting between farmer leaders and senior police officials in Patiala, suggests a critical juncture in the protest movement, potentially leading to either a resolution or further escalation based on the outcomes of such discussions.

The preparedness of the farmers, equipped with six months’ worth of rations and diesel, signals their determination and readiness for a prolonged struggle. This level of preparedness indicates that the farmers anticipate a long-term standoff and are not willing to relent easily, underlining the depth of their grievances and demands.

The Punjab government’s response, putting hospitals near the Haryana border on alert and increasing the number of ambulances, reflects the seriousness of the situation and the potential for further injuries. Their call for the Haryana government to refrain from using excessive force is a plea for restraint and a more peaceful approach to handling the protests.

Overall, this situation is a manifestation of deep-seated issues within India’s agricultural sector, with the protesting farmers demanding significant changes to policies they perceive as threatening their livelihoods. The escalation at the Punjab-Haryana border is a critical moment in the farmers’ protest movement, highlighting the tension between the state’s efforts to maintain order and the farmers’ fight for their rights and demands for a fairer agricultural policy framework.

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News Shot 24
Author: News Shot 24

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