Around 200 farmers have been encamped at Jantar Mantar in India’s capital Delhi, since July 22, amid the parliament’s ongoing monsoon session.
Since November 2020, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting against three farm laws brought in by the federal government and passed by parliament to liberalise agriculture.
To extend support to the farmers’ Congress leader Rahul Gandhi among many other senior politicians from 14 opposition parties, converged near the historic Jantar Mantar close to the parliament on Friday.
Slogans were raised with a placard reading “Save Farmers, Save India”.
Rahul Gandhi and other leaders marched to Jantar Mantar from the parliament and supported 200 farmers camping at the site since July 22.
Gandhi said, “Today, all opposition parties have gathered here [at Jantar Mantar] to extend their support against ‘Kala Kanoon’ [black laws]… To give entire support to all Indian farmers. We want the black laws to be repealed completely”.
While many are coming out in solidarity on the internet, supporting the farmers protesting at Jantar Mantar, others are questioning why other opposition parties, such as Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – skipped the protest.
The three farm laws include the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, the Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
These laws were introduced to remove the government-regulated wholesale market out of the farmer-seller trade equation. The laws enable farmers to sell their produce to any seller across the country and deal with private companies directly instead of operating through government-regulated wholesale markets.
But such a mechanism will end the minimum support price (MSP), leaving farmers at the mercy of private companies.