Farmers in India plan to call off a long-running protest following the government’s acceptance of the pending demands, including assurances to consider guaranteed prices for all produce, not just rice and wheat, union leaders have said.

Jagmohan Singh of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers Union), who attended a meeting of farmer unions on Thursday, told Al Jazeera said, “We have decided to call off the protest as most of our demands have been accepted by the government.

Thousands of farmers have protested for a year against the three new laws passed in September last year.

The government is of the view that the laws were aimed at modernizing India’s vast agriculture sector and would help in increasing the income of the farmers by providing them more choices to sell their produce.

However, the farmers argued that the laws would give private corporations control over the sector and deprive them of a minimum support price (MSP) guaranteed by the government for their produce.

Last month, Modi made a surprise U-turn, apologizing to the nation in a TV address and saying he would roll back the controversial legislation. His announcement came ahead of crucial regional elections in” grain bowl” states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Victory for farmers

News outlets shared visuals showing many farmers removing tents from the main protest site at Singhu outside capital New Delhi, on social media.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that a victory march will be held on Saturday to celebrate the campaign’s victory against the laws, as announced by Balbir Singh Rajewal at one of the protest camps on the outskirts of New Delhi.

Singh said, “It is a huge victory for the farmers”. He added, “This is a big loss for Narendra Modi.”

Balbir Singh Rajewal, a senior leader of a coalition of farmers’ unions, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (United Farmers’ Front) said they have “received a letter from the government which has conceded to our requests”.

Rajewal shared, farmers’ leaders would meet on January 15 to review progress on the government’s assurances.

Another farmers’ leader, Gurnam Singh Charuni said, “We will resume our protests if the government moves away from the assurances”.

As per reports, farmers will start leaving the protest site on Saturday on the outskirts of the Indian capital of New Delhi.

The government will establish a panel of growers and government officials to devise ways of ensuring MSP for all farm produce, according to the letter. At present, the government buys mainly rice and wheat at such guaranteed prices, benefiting barely 6 percent of India’s farmers.

Agriculture which accounts for overly 15 percent of India’s $2.7-trillion economy, is the livelihood of more than half its population of 1.3 billion.

Jagmohan Singh said the government accepted their demands because of a campaign started by the farmers against Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He warned that if the government backtracks from its accepted demands, the farmers will hit the streets again.

Singh said, “If they take a U-turn on MSP or the cases are not withdrawn against farmers by all the agencies, we will come back with our protest programme”.

The story was filed by the News Desk. The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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