On the 22nd day of what seems to be a historic uprising, the winters intensifying in the north of India, farmers continue to protest against the Centre’s farm reform laws.
In September 2020, the Parliament of India passed three agricultural laws, claiming to provide farmers with a legal framework to enter into proper contracts for selling their produce, as well as providing them with multiple marketing channels. While the oppositions and unions strongly believe these are ‘anti farmer laws’, the government continues to maintain that these laws will, in turn, make it easier and more beneficial for farmers to directly sell their products to larger corporations.
While initially these protests were confined to the states of Punjab, Haryana and some parts of UP, by December 2020 around 50 farmer unions decided to bring together these states and march to Delhi, to initiate negotiations with the government.
Over the last three weeks, around 20 of these farmers have died in the midst of the protests, due to road accidents, the biting cold, suicide and even natural causes.
As of Thursday, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against the three laws and appealed to the parliament to meet the demands of the farmers. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lashed out at the Centre and proceeded to tear up the copies, saying that he cannot betray his farmers and asked the government not to act worse than the Britishers. Kejriwal, the President of the Aam Aadmi Party, also stated the news of the score of farmers martyred, and questioned the Centre on when it will “wake up”.
With regard to the involvement of the Supreme Court, the SC recommended today that the Centre put the enactment of these laws on hold to entitle negotiations with the farmers. The SC is also currently tackling a number of petitions to stop the agitations of these farmers on grounds of causing disturbance to the citizens. However, the Court declared that “The farmers’ protests should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protestors or police.”