Thousands of farmers entered the capital New Delhi, India for a planned protest against new farm laws hours after the police fired several rounds of tear gas and used water cannon to stop the Dilli Chalo (Go to Delhi) march.
Protesting Indian farmers clashed with police earlier on Friday during the march to the capital, against new laws, which will make it easier for farmers to sell their produce directly to private buyers and enter into a contract with private companies.
By Friday evening, all Haryana Police barricades at the border with Punjab and along the highway to Delhi had been lifted. Hundreds entered the national capital to hold a peaceful protest at a north Delhi ground after facing teargas and water cannons and clashing with security personnel, while thousands remained at border points, undecided whether to go to the demonstration site identified by police.
“We have again started heading towards Delhi in the morning after a night halt at Meham in Rohtak district of Haryana,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) leader Shingara Singh said on Saturday.
Another group of farmers made a night halt at Julana in Haryana’s Jind district, he said, adding, “They have also resumed their journey towards Delhi.”
Farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
The BJP has maintained a pro-corporate image, with low interest in improving prospects of the farmer.
The farm bills are seen as part of the planned elimination of the farmer from land and agriculture, and to shift focus to the rapid urbanisation of the rural. Rural India has another reason for its distrust. The recent migrant crisis during the COVID lockdown, when lakhs of farmers had to walk miles to reach home, demonstrated to the poor that neither those in power nor those in business care for them. Urbanisation would only be another way of exploitation of the farmer as either the owner of cheap land or as the provider of cheap labour.