The borders of the National Capital have been witness to thousands of farmers from Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh since the 25th of October. Farmers have left their fields and decided to march to Delhi urging the Central government to repeal the controversial new farm laws.
The FII team visited the Singhu and Tikri borders to speak with the protestors and try to understand their concerns and demands.
Small scale protests started in August 2020 when the farm bills were made public. On 25 September 2020 farm unions all over India called for a Bharat Bandh to protest against these farm laws. After failing to get the support of state governments, the farmers decided to pressure the Central Government by marching to Delhi. On 25 November 2020, protestors from the Dilli Chalo campaign were met by police at the borders of the city.
The farmers are arguing that instead of providing them better prices, the new laws will leave them at the mercy of a few private players who will organise and set the price. They argue, that the government mandis will continue to attract taxes and the traders will have no incentive to buy from the mandi, paving the way for the existing structure to be dismantled. The fear is that without bargaining power, they will have to sell outside the mandi in an unregulated trade area & powerful buyers will dictate price.
While on our visit to Singhu, we also came across women protestors who have come from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and are well aware of how the three laws will affect them. Many were seen at the protest site citing that it is their responsibility too to be present for the fight at such a crucial time.
The farmers at the protest site had a common complaint with the national media for portraying them in a negative light. From conversation around the Punjabi farmers being Khalistani separatists to portraying them as being paid by the Opposition in the country, to even giving it a communal angle – many farmers called out the media for painting a biased picture of their protest.
Many people in power, including our Prime Minister have now said that the farmers are being misled and do not ‘understand’ the benefits the law will bring for them. The farmers claim they are clear on their ideas.
To know more about the protests, and demands of the farmers, watch this report.