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  • Indian farmers take part in their ongoing sit-in protest at the New Delhi - Haryana, Singhu border, India, Dec. 14, 2020.

    Indian farmers take part in their ongoing sit-in protest at the New Delhi - Haryana, Singhu border, India, Dec. 14, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 12 January 2021
Opinion

Judges also ordered the formation of a committee of experts on agricultural issues to hear the parties and guide them on a final decision.

India's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the temporary suspension of three government-sponsored laws that triggered the protests of thousands of peasants 47 days ago.

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The judges' decision attempts to unblock weeks of failed negotiations between the protesters, who are demanding the repeal of the laws, and the government, which has asked the courts to declare illegal the protest that has been blocking several of the entrances to New Delhi since November 26.

The Supreme Court also ordered the formation of a committee of experts on agricultural issues to hear the parties, review the content of the laws, settle differences over the scope of the legislation, and guide the judges on a final decision.

"We welcome the suspension, but that is not what we are looking for. So our movement will continue," Swaraj India Chief Yogendra Yadav said, explaining that farmers do not oppose the creation of such a committee but will not participate in it.

The three laws that unleashed the farmers' anger deregulate the agricultural market and abolish minimum selling prices, thus forcing farmers to negotiate the prices of their products with large companies that control the distribution chains.

The law also establishes "contract production" whereby the farmer and the buyer agree on sales prices before planting.

The government has defended the reform by assuring that this will allow farmers to negotiate on their own terms, but farmers feel that the law leaves them helpless in the hands of big business.

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