The farmers stand up against Modi

India is full of dissatisfaction: Farmers stand up with Modi


December 4, 2020, GMT

NEW DELHI (AP) – A cold breeze swirls in New Delhi in the morning and the sun is partly obscured by the toxic fog that marks another winter in the Indian capital. But along the city limits, this year is visibly and visually different.

The constantly busy arterial highways that connect most cities in North India with this city of 29 million inhabitants are now the cry of “Inquilab Zindabad” – “Long Live the Revolution”. Ten and a thousand farmers are typical, with colorful turbanes and long flowing beards they descended the city limits and stifled highways in massive protests against new farming laws that they said would open them up to corporate exploitation.

More than a week ago, tractors and trucks marched towards the capital like an army, pushing concrete police barricades aside while encouraging tear gas, sticks, and water cannons. Food and fuel stocks are accumulating on the outskirts of New Delhi, which could take up to weeks, threatening to besiege the capital if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government fails to comply with their demand to repeal the laws.

“Modi wants to sell our lands to companies,” said one of them, Kaljeet Singh, 31, who traveled from the city of Ludhiana in Punjab, about 310 kilometers north of New Delhi. “You can’t decide the millions who have passed blood and sweat for generations to a land they consider more expensive than their lives.”

At night, farmers sleep in trailers and trucks, wrapped in blankets to encourage the winter cold. During the day, they sit in groups in their vehicles, surrounded by piles of rice, lentils and vegetables, prepared for meals in hundreds of makeshift soup kitchens, mixed in huge pots, mixed with canoe-sized wooden spoons.

Anmol Singh (33), who supports a family of six with farming, said the new laws are part of a larger plan to transfer farmers ’land to large corporations and make them landless.

“Modi wants the poor farmer to starve to fill his rich friends’ stomachs, ”he said. “We are here to fight peacefully against his brutal regulations.”

He paused, then thought, “In fact, let him and his ministers take over us. We give them a bloody nose.

Many of the protesting farmers come from northern Punjab and Haryana, India’s two largest agricultural states. The vast majority of them are Sikhs. They fear that laws passed in September will force the government to stop buying grain at a minimum guaranteed price and lead to the exploitation of companies that are depressing prices. Many activists and farming experts support their need for a minimum guaranteed price for their crops.

The new rules will also eliminate agents who act as intermediaries between farmers and government-regulated wholesale markets. According to farmers, agents are vital gears for the economy and the main credit line of the economy, providing quick resources for fuel, fertilizers, and even loans for family emergencies.

Laws have heightened the pre-existing resentment of farmers, who often complain that the government has ignored better crop prices, additional credit exemptions and irrigation systems to guarantee water during times of dry magic.

The government argued that the laws would bring about a necessary reform that would allow farmers to market their products and increase production through private investment. However, farmers say they were never consulted.

With nearly 60% of India’s population dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, the growing agricultural revolt has curbed Modi’s administration and allies. Leaders try to curb protests that quickly resemble last year’s scenes when the controversial new citizenship law, which discriminates against Muslims, led to violent demonstrations.

These demonstrations were on a much larger scale, but the rumble of farmers is growing rapidly and is gaining widespread support among ordinary citizens who have begun to join them in large numbers.

Modi and his allies tried to dispel farmers ’fears about the new laws while dismissing their concerns. Some party leaders have called farmers “misled” and “anti-national,” a label often given to those who criticize Modit or his policies.

The government is in talks with farmers to persuade them to end their protest, but they have sunk into their heels.

Farmer Kulwant Singh, 72, said when he left his home in Haryana because of the protests, he gave his wife a garland of flowers for two possible scenarios.

“Either I return victorious and he puts it around my neck in celebration, or I rebel here dying and the same wreath gets on my body when he gets home,” Singh said.

Such passions arise among protesters who experienced social, economic and generational obstacles during the demonstrations.

Singh is not the only one of his family to have traveled to New Delhi for the Urdu term he calls “Qilah Fatehin,” which translates to “laying down a siege”. He was also accompanied by his son and grandson.

“It’s also a struggle for my generation,” Amrinder Singh, 16, said.

As the protests grew, protesters also set off a political message.

Dissatisfied with Modi’s federal policy, many of whose critics and minorities have provoked widespread opposition, protest farmers say it’s time to stop his so-called “dictatorial behavior”.

“India is in recession. There is hardly any work, and the secular material of our country is torn apart. ”Said Gurpreet Singh (26), a biotechnology student from a farming family. “At a time when India needs a healing touch, Modi is coming up with divisive, contradictory laws. This is unacceptable and defies our constitutional values. “

Modi’s second power cycle since May 2019 has been characterized by a number of seizures. The economy has multiplied, social strife has widened, protests have broken out against discriminatory laws, and its government has been questioned for its response to the pandemic.

The protest by farmers is a new challenge for the government.

The protesters ’desire to stand up to Modi and his politics also extends to a sex-farming couple who marched 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Chandigarh City in Sunday hatchback to take part in the protests.

Dharam Singh Sandhu, 67, and Vimaljeet Kaur, 66, spend nights in their car parked near the protest site. In the morning, breakfast is shared in an impromptu soup kitchen. The last part of the day is spent attending the demonstrations.

“Our land is our mother. If we can’t defend, we have no right to live, ”Sandhu said of the protests.

His wife spoke passionately about a larger target as he led to the scene of the protest, during the relentlessly humming vehicles, to pass the crowded traffic.

“Our country is like a bouquet of flowers, but Modi wants it to be the same color. You have no right to that. I’m here to protest this mindset, ”Kaur said.

As Kaur walked hand in hand with her husband, there was a great shout from one of the vehicles, “Inquilab Zindabad.”

The crowd turned and looked at a young man with a black beard holding his fist through the car window.

Protesters, including Kaur, shouted back, “Inquilab Zindabad!”