Timeline: Year-long protest of Indian farmers against agricultural laws | Agricultural News


For more than a year, Indian farmers have been protesting against the law passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which allows farmers to sell agricultural products directly to bulk buyers and makes contract farming easier.

Modi announced on Friday that he would repeal the controversial law, a major failure.

This sudden concession was made before elections were held at the beginning of next year in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, and two other rural states with large populations in Uttar Pradesh.

The following is the timeline of the protests surrounding the passage of the law and the escalation:

June 2020: Three emergency administrative orders were introduced, and Modi’s cabinet stated that these orders are designed to allow farmers the freedom to sell products directly to institutional buyers such as large trading companies, large retailers and food processors.

September 17: The lower house of the Indian Parliament passed the order. Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned, calling the legislation “anti-farmers”.

September 18: Modi defended the new legislation, saying it would “free” millions of farmers and help them get better prices.

September 20: Despite increasing protests from the opposition parties, the parliament passed these bills, saying that farmers’ bargaining power will be weakened.

September 24: Farmers from some of the large hinterland states of northern India, the main producers of wheat and rice, blocked the railway tracks. The next day, there will be larger demonstrations across the country, where growers block the highway leading to the capital New Delhi with trucks, tractors and combine harvesters.

November 30: Modi rejected calls to repeal these laws, thinking that the government’s worries that the wholesale market would eventually be abolished were wrong.

December 1: During the talks that lasted for several hours, the minister and the representatives of the protesting farmers failed to break the deadlock in the agricultural law.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked about the protests in a video message, saying that his government has contacted the Indian authorities. In response, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the Canadian leader “not well-informed.”

December 7: Thousands of people staged protests and blocked traffic, gathered in front of the Indian Embassy, ​​and marched around the Trafalgar Square area in central London to discuss India’s reforms. The police arrested 13 people for violating COVID-19 regulations.

December 8: Protests spread in India as farm organizations called for a nationwide strike after negotiations with the government failed.

December 16: A 65-year-old Sikh priest committed suicide at one of the protest locations.

December 17: The protests expanded to Sikh diaspora, with 250 to 300 Sikhs and other Indians participating in the Melbourne rally. Protests took place in nearly 50 different cities around the world within a few days.

December 21: The farmer leaders began a 24-hour relay hunger strike. Farmer leaders said that more than 30 protesters who camped in the open air on major national roads died mainly because of the cold that dropped to 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit).

On a cold winter morning, farmers stood by the fire to keep warm at the scene of protests against the new agricultural law at the New Lake border near New Delhi [File: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

January 12, 2021: The Supreme Court of India ordered an indefinite suspension of the implementation of the new agricultural law, stating that it hopes to protect farmers and will listen to their opposition.

January 26: After removing the roadblock and driving a tractor through the roadblock, the farmers overwhelmed the police and rushed into the historic Red Fort complex in New Delhi. The police fired tear gas but failed to force the protesters to return. An eyewitness said that a protester was killed, and Delhi police said that 86 policemen in the city were injured.

February 2: Singer Rihanna used the hashtag #FarmersProtest on Twitter to say: “Why don’t we talk about this?!” Others followed closely, including Greta Thornberg, the niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Mi Na Harris. The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs lashed out at these comments and urged a correct understanding of the issue at hand.

February 15: Politicians and activists condemned the arrest of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi (Disha Ravi), who was charged with sedition and helped edit Sweden’s Greta Thunberg as Online documents propagated in support of protesting farmers. She was later granted bail, and the court stated that her efforts “lack and rough evidence” showed sedition.

July 22: Farmers began to sit in at the Jantar Mantar, a large Mughal observatory near the New Delhi Parliament, to push for abolition again.

September 5: More than 500,000 farmers gathered in Uttar Pradesh, the largest gathering in a series of demonstrations that lasted several months.

November 19: Modi said he will repeal the disputed law.

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