Farmer unions are to launch a a symbolic ‘Bharat Bandh’ today, following rounds of unsuccessful talks between farmers and the government over the new contentious farm laws that farmers say violate their interests.
The sixth round of talks is to be held on Wednesday. The Bharat Bandh, a series of peaceful protests against the laws, have been backed by a number of opposition parties and trad unions. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, claims that the laws will not affect farmers’ incomes but will allow private enterprises a more pronounced role in the farming sector.
“There will be complete ‘Bharat bandh’ till 3 pm Tuesday, but emergency services will be allowed,” farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said, adding that they won’t accept anything less than the complete reversal of the proposed reforms.
Most of the farmers protesting belong to the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, and also to the country’s richest agricultural communities. Their campaign has evoked a response on social media and in the international community.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa, an American politician said “I stand in solidarity with the Punjabi farmers in India protesting for their livelihoods and protection from misguided, manipulative government regulations.”