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Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints

Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

In late September, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to three "Farm Laws", or the "Agriculture Bills" which went on to shake the world's largest democracy to its core as farmers feared these laws could impact their livelihood - one that is often termed the largest source of livelihoods in India. As much as 70 percent of the country's rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood.

Farmers set out for the capital New Delhi on November 26 with a slogan – "Delhi Chalo" which translates to "Let's go to Delhi". A lot has changed since then, but what hasn't changed - the perseverance of farmers to protect their interests and the farm laws themselves - is catalyzing a change in India that reminds its citizens of the power of their voice and reflects on the global sentiment of change after the last couple of years saw massive protests in every corner of the world. In the Live Discourse, we aim to accumulate all perspectives on the farm laws and the fallout that followed, to help readers get a better sense of what's next for the sector that is the largest source of livelihood in India.

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Farm Laws and the Fallout: Perspectives and Viewpoints - Lakhs of tractors will reach Parliament if needed, says Rakesh Tikait in Sheopur

India | Devdiscourse News Desk
Updated: 09-03-2021 11:17 IST Created: 30-01-2021 09:03 IST

10:40 AM Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Singh Tikait on Monday said that lakhs of farmers in their tractors would reach Parliament to seek repeal of the three new farm laws if needed, PTI reported. Tikait, one of the prominent leaders of farmer unions which are protesting against the Centre's new laws on Delhi borders, addressed a huge rally in Sheopur.''If needed, we, on lakhs of tractors will reach Parliament to press for the repeal of the three black laws. 3,500 tractors entered Delhi on Republic Day. These were not hired tractors,'' he said.Without naming local BJP leader and Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Tikait said he was powerless.''The leader you all have chosen has no power. He can't reply to us on his own. He gets back with files and returns with replies,'' the BKU leader said at Sheopur Krishi Mandi.

10:25 AM The High Commission of India in London has condemned a debate among some British lawmakers on an e-petition over the right of peaceful protests and freedom of the press in India amid the ongoing farmers' stir against three New Delhi laws on agricultural reform, PTI reported.The Commission damned the debate, held on Monday evening inside the British parliamentary premises, as "false assertions" in a "distinctly one-sided discussion"."We deeply regret that rather than a balanced debate, false assertions -- without substantiation or facts -- were made, casting aspersions on the largest functioning democracy in the world and its institutions," the commission said in a statement after the Monday evening debate on an e-petition.The debate was held in response to an e-petition that had crossed the 100,000-signature threshold, required for it to be approved by the House of Commons Petitions Committee.The debate, held in a hybrid form with some MPs participating via videolink in a room at Portcullis House in London, related to the e-petition entitled "Urge the Indian Government to ensure the safety of protesters & press freedom".

5:27 PM Entry and exit gates of stations on the Tikri Kalan-Brigadier Hoshiar Singh section of the Delhi Metro's Green Line have been opened, the DMRC tweeted on Monday.Security UpdateEntry/exit gates of all stations from Tikri Kalan to Brigadier Hoshiar Singh are open. https://t.co/lGpTCWanrr — Delhi Metro Rail Corporation I कृपया मास्क पहनें😷 (@OfficialDMRC) March 8, 2021Tikri border is one of the epicenters of the farmers' protest against the new agriculture laws.Earlier, the DMRC had informed that the entry/exit gates of stations from Tikri Kalan to Brigadier Hoshiar Singh were closed on the green line due to security reasons.

3:41 PM "Farming practice in Punjab is embedded deep into the culture, psyche and essence of the state, manifesting itself through a rich heritage in both religion and folk music. That deep connection between farming and folk music (and also religion) has generated significant support from Punjabi folk singers from across the world. Very early on in the protests, leading folk singers began to publish songs on social media platforms to advocate their support for the farmers’ protest," writes Balbir Barn, a computer science professor and Incoming Academic Dean of Faculty the Science and Technology at Middlesex University in London, UK, in an opinion published by Outlook Magazine. In the article, Barn argues that songs and lyrics have played an important role in protest movements throughout history and tries to highlight how songs have impacted the farmers' movement in India. Read the full article here

2:29 PM Thousands of women joined protests by farmers on the outskirts of Delhi on Monday to mark International Women’s Day, demanding the scrapping of new laws that open up agriculture produce markets to private buyers.A Twitter user Saahil Murli Menghani shared a video clip purportedly from the Tikri border protest site showing a large number of women taking part in the event.#InternationalWomensDay being observed by women at Tikri border with an all-woman sabha. Look at the turnout. Numbers have swelled as more women from villages have come for #MahilaKisanDiwas. No wonder the low & mighty didn't want women to remain present at #FarmersProtest sites. pic.twitter.com/qwQhR5OV5s — Saahil Murli Menghani (@saahilmenghani) March 8, 2021Another user Niraj Bhatia also shared pictures of women who have gathered at the protest sites.So much Shakti .. #InternationalWomensDay#FarmersProtestpic.twitter.com/e0JmJeSzGw — Niraj Bhatia (@bhatia_niraj23) March 8, 2021

0:43 PM The emergence of Naresh and Rakesh Tikait may have brought Western Uttar Pradesh to the center of farmers' protest at Delhi borders, but the farming community of the region known as the 'sugar bowl of India' have a long list of other and even bigger problems -- Stagnant sugarcane price, ever-rising diesel rates and the menace of stray animals, to name a few, news agency PTI said in an article.The article quotes Raj Kumar, a Rawa Rajput from Satheri village in Muzaffarnagar district, says sugarcane prices have not been raised for the past several seasons, whereas companies have reduced the size of urea and DAP (Diammonium phosphate, a popular phosphatic fertilizer) bags, making the manure costlier and the agriculture ''unsustainable''.''In this region, our elders earlier used to say, 'Uttam kheti, beech vyapaar, neech naukri' (Agriculture is best to earn a livelihood, followed by business and then doing a job), but the sequence has turned upside down now,'' he said.Echoing similar sentiments, Roshan Lal, a Saini by caste and a small-scale farmer, said more than the three farm laws, it is the delay in sugarcane payment and rising diesel prices, along with the problem of stray cattle, that have made their lives miserable.''More than farm laws, these local issues have broken our back,'' Lal said, standing by Kumar. ''All this has forced us to raise their voices for farmers' issues,'' he said.

11:25 AM "This is the first time that producers — farmers and workers — have sought to form an alliance in the past three decades of economic reforms. It is yet uncertain what these efforts might lead to but it is clearly a pushback against unfettered capitalism, a condition that has rendered a vast population vulnerable to market vagaries," writes Ravinder Kaur, a labor rights activist, in an opinion published by The Indian Express. In the article, Kaur argues that farmers and workers have been exposed to a new space in the protests, which allows them to forge solidarity in their struggle. "Yet, the question of solidarity is not an uncomplicated one," she adds. Read the full article here

11:01 AM "The current course of standoff and censorship can be easily corrected. The remedy involves listening to the people; consultation before, during and even after policies are passed so they can be amended; and collaboration with those affected. Never before have I seen my faith, my community, my people come together and show the values of standing up for justice, without fear and with service at the forefront, more clearly than they are doing so right now. They are standing for all of India in line with 'Sarbat da bhala,' which means, 'standing for the welfare of all.' They are not anti-Modi or anti-BJP but can simply see that these bills will not serve India in the long run," writes Mandeep Rai Dhillon, author of "The Values Compass: What 101 Countries Teach Us About Purpose, Life and Leadership", in an opinion piece published by CNN.In the article, Dhillon tries to describe why the farmers are protesting and how the movement has sustained for so long. She also calls for "understanding, listening, and courage" to resolve the standoff. Read the article here

10:32 AM News agency ANI shared pictures of women at the protest site on the Tikri border to extend their support to the ongoing agitation against new farm laws on the occasion of International Women Day. Thousands of women farmers are expected to take over key roles at the Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur protest sites at New Delhi's borders on International Women's Day on Monday.Women from Punjab reach Tikri on Delhi-Haryana border to join the ongoing farmers' protest. "We urge the Central government to roll back the three black laws," a woman protester says. #InternationalWomensDaypic.twitter.com/tfPjVcejjR — ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2021A Twitter user Amaan also shared pictures purportedly from Punjab's Tarn Taran of women leaving to join the protest on the border of New Delhi. 7. Jatha of women leaving for borders of Delhi from Tarn Taran district. #WomensDaypic.twitter.com/k3LluloNQJ — Amaan (@amaanbali) March 8, 2021Another Twitter account called BKU EKTA UGRAHAN shared pictures reportedly from the Tikri border of women making arrangements for their day on the border.Thousands of women have come to Tikri border to celebrate IWD and to be a part of a history. Soon they will open the stage with speeches, songs, and slogans.Everyday is a Women's day.#FarmersProtest#Internationalwomensday#WeSaluteWomenFarmerspic.twitter.com/MKGM6CjEwR — BKU EKTA UGRAHAN (@Bkuektaugrahan) March 8, 2021

10:16 AM "Clean water, hygiene, a focus on knowledge and facts, free food for all and a school on the street for underserved children – all run and organised by brave and resilient people who believe that India belongs to all, not just a privileged few. Tikri border has become a gathering of the best India has to offer. Shame on those who try to portray it otherwise," writes Rohit Kumar, an educator with a background in positive psychology and psychometrics, in an article published by The Wire. Kumar says that the protests are still going strong and blames "mainstream Indian media" for either ignoring the protests or reporting that the numbers are fizzling out. He also highlights the efforts of farmers and their supporters in the protests by giving examples of an NGO Hemkunt Foundation, which has set up a water filtration system by the roadside that provides 1,000 liters of cool drinking water to the farmers every hour, and Kavita Arya, a Ph.D. scholar from Panjab University, who supposedly goes from trolley to trolley to explain the three laws to farmers. Read the full article here

Lakhs of tractors will reach Parliament if needed, says Rakesh Tikait in Sheopur

Lakhs of tractors will reach Parliament if needed, says Rakesh Tikait in Sheopur

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Singh Tikait on Monday said that lakhs of farmers in their tractors would reach Parliament to seek repeal of the three new farm laws if needed, PTI reported. 

Tikait, one of the prominent leaders of farmer unions which are protesting against the Centre's new laws on Delhi borders, addressed a huge rally in Sheopur.

''If needed, we, on lakhs of tractors will reach Parliament to press for the repeal of the three black laws. 3,500 tractors entered Delhi on Republic Day. These were not hired tractors,'' he said.

Without naming local BJP leader and Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Tikait said he was powerless.

''The leader you all have chosen has no power. He can't reply to us on his own. He gets back with files and returns with replies,'' the BKU leader said at Sheopur Krishi Mandi.

 

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'False assertions': India hits back on UK MPs debate on safety of protesters

'False assertions': India hits back on UK MPs debate on safety of protesters

The High Commission of India in London has condemned a debate among some British lawmakers on an e-petition over the right of peaceful protests and freedom of the press in India amid the ongoing farmers' stir against three New Delhi laws on agricultural reform, PTI reported.

The Commission damned the debate, held on Monday evening inside the British parliamentary premises, as "false assertions" in a "distinctly one-sided discussion".

"We deeply regret that rather than a balanced debate, false assertions -- without substantiation or facts -- were made, casting aspersions on the largest functioning democracy in the world and its institutions," the commission said in a statement after the Monday evening debate on an e-petition.

The debate was held in response to an e-petition that had crossed the 100,000-signature threshold, required for it to be approved by the House of Commons Petitions Committee.

The debate, held in a hybrid form with some MPs participating via videolink in a room at Portcullis House in London, related to the e-petition entitled "Urge the Indian Government to ensure the safety of protesters & press freedom".

READ MORE ON : Farmers Protest
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Entry, exit gates of stations from Tikri Kalan to Brigadier Hoshiar Singh reopened: DMRC

Entry, exit gates of stations from Tikri Kalan to Brigadier Hoshiar Singh reopened: DMRC

Entry and exit gates of stations on the Tikri Kalan-Brigadier Hoshiar Singh section of the Delhi Metro's Green Line have been opened, the DMRC tweeted on Monday.

Tikri border is one of the epicenters of the farmers' protest against the new agriculture laws.

Earlier, the DMRC had informed that the entry/exit gates of stations from Tikri Kalan to Brigadier Hoshiar Singh were closed on the green line due to security reasons.

READ MORE ON : Farmers Protest
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'Songs and lyrics have been an essential element of protest movements'

'Songs and lyrics have been an essential element of protest movements'

"Farming practice in Punjab is embedded deep into the culture, psyche and essence of the state, manifesting itself through a rich heritage in both religion and folk music. That deep connection between farming and folk music (and also religion) has generated significant support from Punjabi folk singers from across the world. Very early on in the protests, leading folk singers began to publish songs on social media platforms to advocate their support for the farmers’ protest," writes Balbir Barn, a computer science professor and Incoming Academic Dean of Faculty the Science and Technology at Middlesex University in London, UK, in an opinion published by Outlook Magazine. 

In the article, Barn argues that songs and lyrics have played an important role in protest movements throughout history and tries to highlight how songs have impacted the farmers' movement in India. Read the full article here.

READ MORE ON : Farmers Protest
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Social media posts show large number of women gather at protest sites

Thousands of women joined protests by farmers on the outskirts of Delhi on Monday to mark International Women’s Day, demanding the scrapping of new laws that open up agriculture produce markets to private buyers.

A Twitter user Saahil Murli Menghani shared a video clip purportedly from the Tikri border protest site showing a large number of women taking part in the event.

Another user Niraj Bhatia also shared pictures of women who have gathered at the protest sites.

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'Local issues have broken our back': Highlighting problems of 'sugar bowl' of India

'Local issues have broken our back': Highlighting problems of 'sugar bowl' of India

The emergence of Naresh and Rakesh Tikait may have brought Western Uttar Pradesh to the center of farmers' protest at Delhi borders, but the farming community of the region known as the 'sugar bowl of India' have a long list of other and even bigger problems -- Stagnant sugarcane price, ever-rising diesel rates and the menace of stray animals, to name a few, news agency PTI said in an article.

The article quotes Raj Kumar, a Rawa Rajput from Satheri village in Muzaffarnagar district, says sugarcane prices have not been raised for the past several seasons, whereas companies have reduced the size of urea and DAP (Diammonium phosphate, a popular phosphatic fertilizer) bags, making the manure costlier and the agriculture ''unsustainable''.

''In this region, our elders earlier used to say, 'Uttam kheti, beech vyapaar, neech naukri' (Agriculture is best to earn a livelihood, followed by business and then doing a job), but the sequence has turned upside down now,'' he said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Roshan Lal, a Saini by caste and a small-scale farmer, said more than the three farm laws, it is the delay in sugarcane payment and rising diesel prices, along with the problem of stray cattle, that have made their lives miserable.

''More than farm laws, these local issues have broken our back,'' Lal said, standing by Kumar. ''All this has forced us to raise their voices for farmers' issues,'' he said.

READ MORE ON : Farmers Protest
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'The question of solidarity is not an uncomplicated one'

"This is the first time that producers — farmers and workers — have sought to form an alliance in the past three decades of economic reforms. It is yet uncertain what these efforts might lead to but it is clearly a pushback against unfettered capitalism, a condition that has rendered a vast population vulnerable to market vagaries," writes Ravinder Kaur, a labor rights activist, in an opinion published by The Indian Express. 

In the article, Kaur argues that farmers and workers have been exposed to a new space in the protests, which allows them to forge solidarity in their struggle. "Yet, the question of solidarity is not an uncomplicated one," she adds. Read the full article here

READ MORE ON : Farmers Protest
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'The remedy involves listening to the people'

'The remedy involves listening to the people'

"The current course of standoff and censorship can be easily corrected. The remedy involves listening to the people; consultation before, during and even after policies are passed so they can be amended; and collaboration with those affected. Never before have I seen my faith, my community, my people come together and show the values of standing up for justice, without fear and with service at the forefront, more clearly than they are doing so right now. They are standing for all of India in line with 'Sarbat da bhala,' which means, 'standing for the welfare of all.' They are not anti-Modi or anti-BJP but can simply see that these bills will not serve India in the long run," writes Mandeep Rai Dhillon, author of "The Values Compass: What 101 Countries Teach Us About Purpose, Life and Leadership", in an opinion piece published by CNN.

In the article, Dhillon tries to describe why the farmers are protesting and how the movement has sustained for so long. She also calls for "understanding, listening, and courage" to resolve the standoff. Read the article here.

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Women to take over key roles at farmers' protest on International Women's Day

Women to take over key roles at farmers' protest on International Women's Day

News agency ANI shared pictures of women at the protest site on the Tikri border to extend their support to the ongoing agitation against new farm laws on the occasion of International Women Day. Thousands of women farmers are expected to take over key roles at the Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur protest sites at New Delhi's borders on International Women's Day on Monday.

A Twitter user Amaan also shared pictures purportedly from Punjab's Tarn Taran of women leaving to join the protest on the border of New Delhi. 

Another Twitter account called BKU EKTA UGRAHAN shared pictures reportedly from the Tikri border of women making arrangements for their day on the border.

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'Tikri border has become a gathering of the best India has to offer'

'Tikri border has become a gathering of the best India has to offer'

"Clean water, hygiene, a focus on knowledge and facts, free food for all and a school on the street for underserved children – all run and organised by brave and resilient people who believe that India belongs to all, not just a privileged few. Tikri border has become a gathering of the best India has to offer. Shame on those who try to portray it otherwise," writes Rohit Kumar, an educator with a background in positive psychology and psychometrics, in an article published by The Wire. Kumar says that the protests are still going strong and blames "mainstream Indian media" for either ignoring the protests or reporting that the numbers are fizzling out. 

He also highlights the efforts of farmers and their supporters in the protests by giving examples of an NGO Hemkunt Foundation, which has set up a water filtration system by the roadside that provides 1,000 liters of cool drinking water to the farmers every hour, and Kavita Arya, a Ph.D. scholar from Panjab University, who supposedly goes from trolley to trolley to explain the three laws to farmers. Read the full article here.

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