Nationwide anger over new farm laws

The Congress along with other opposition parties and farmer organisations held demonstrations against the new farm laws across the country on Monday, with some protesters torching a tractor at the India Gate in the heart of Lutyens' Delhi. Farmers in Punjab continued their rail roko agitation for the fifth consecutive day and announced that the protest against the three farm bills will be extended till October 2.
The protesters under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee have been squatting on rail tracks since September 24 at Jalandhar, Amritsar, Tanda, Mukerian and Ferozepur. On other hands, the PM Narendra Modi said, “those opposing farm Bills don't want farmers to have freedom of selling produce in open market. Those Opposing farm bills are against farmers, they want middlemen to flourish”.
The Congress invoked Bhagat Singh, whose birth anniversary was celebrated on Monday, during the protests, and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh took part in a sit-in at the ancestral village of the freedom fighter. Lok Sabha MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who held the post of Union Minister for Food Processing, resigned. The passage of votes amid severe opposition even led to the suspension of 8 Rajya Sabha MPs, following which some opposition parties like TMC called it the “murder” of democracy. The Akali Dal, BJP's oldest ally, has also quit the NDA government amid the farmers' agitation.
The farmers' agitation against the three farm bills seem to be becoming violent with every passing day. On Monday morning, a tractor was set on fire at India Gate. Five people have been detained in connection with the incident.
The three farm bills were earlier introduced as ordinances by the government in June. The three ordinances were — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

 

- Prabhakar Purandare

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