Why are farmers protesting in India?


Screenshot from Al Jazeera from Tribune News Service.

India’s Supreme Court stays implementation of new farm laws.

Guntaas Kaur, Opinions Editor

The world’s largest protest is happening and not many people are aware of it. 

For over 2 months farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and other parts of India have been peacefully protesting in New Delhi to repeal three farm bills that were passed by the Indian Government. Tens of thousands of people, of all ages, gender, religion and castes are present in this protest. Farmers are protesting against laws that deregulate the sale of crops. Farmers say if these laws are not taken back it would put them at a risk of losing their land to bigger corporations. According to CNN, “many solely rely on farming to put food on their own table and a roof over their head.” 

Before going to protest in Delhi, farmers were protesting in Punjab for two months, but since there was no response from the government they decided to march to Delhi.

However they encountered many struggles: they were faced with tear gas, water cannons, and barricades as they just wanted to reach the country’s capital to peacefully protest these bills.

Undeterred by these obstacles, they managed to make it to the capital. They now have successfully set up camp along the borders of Delhi with help from Khalsa Aid and many other resources and donators. Not only that, these farmers have also set up Langar, which is a 24/7 free community kitchen, originated from Punjab, India. This has not only helped the people fighting for their rights in Delhi, but also the poor. Medical care has also been set up along the borders, and volunteer doctors and nurses are offering free checkups, and medications for everyone.

It is not easy staying away from home and sleeping and living on the roads, and on top of that being faced with the worst of winter, fog and rain. This is why now many more volunteers come out to help, and have now installed electricity, portable bathrooms, mattresses and blankets in their tractor trolleys to make it more comfortable for them. 

Despite these hardships, a sense of community being built at the protest. 

Also, in support of the farmer protest, peaceful protests have taken place all over the world. Communities in America, Canada, England, and other countries are coming together to support and encourage these farmers back in Delhi, India. 

However, as of Jan 24th over 150 people have lost their lives because of the cold weather, and as more continue to lose their lives, farmers are still strong and are continuing to fight. On Jan 26th, India’s Republic Day, the farmers are planning to take out a peaceful tractor parade to further support this cause. 

For farmers in Punjab, agriculture is not just a source of income, but more of a lifestyle. This is why they don’t want to leave until the bills are taken back, because they know if these bills are not repealed, it will not only make them vulnerable in their own land, but also have a significant impact on consumers worldwide.