Indian police have blocked roads to prevent farmers from marching to New Delhi

In New Delhi, on Monday, Indian police took measures to block roads, aiming to prevent farmers from marching towards the city to advocate for better crop prices, as promised to them in 2021. During that time, thousands of growers had camped out on major highways leading to the country’s capital.

Some government ministers are anticipated to engage in discussions with farm union leaders on Monday to prevent a recurrence of the year-long protest, which sought to compel the government to repeal farm laws intended to deregulate extensive agricultural markets.

The march occurs just months before national elections in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is widely expected to secure a third term.

India’s vast farming community constitutes a significant voting bloc, and ruling parties endeavor to maintain their support.

Television footage depicted farmers driving towards Delhi in tractors from the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, while barriers such as barbed wire fencing and cement blocks were erected on the city’s periphery to impede their progress. Additionally, police issued orders prohibiting public gatherings in Delhi.

The farmers have mobilized in response to a call by union leaders, demanding higher support or guaranteed prices for their produce and urging the government to fulfill its promise of doubling farmers’ income.

“We will proceed peacefully, and our aim is for the government to heed our demands,” stated Sarvan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, to news agency ANI.

Each year, the government announces support prices for over 20 crops to establish a benchmark. However, state agencies only purchase rice and wheat at the support level, benefiting merely about 6% of farmers who cultivate those two crops.

In 2021, when Modi’s administration repealed the farm laws amidst farmer protests, the government pledged to establish a panel comprising growers and government officials to explore methods to ensure support prices for all agricultural produce.

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