“Capitalism and free-market ideology continue to dominate policy circles even in the face of unprecedented inequality, rising hunger and extreme poverty," Rakesh Tikait said.
On Monday, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) warned that Indian farmers will blockade New Delhi city if Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not repeal his pro-corporate land laws by Nov. 26.
"From Nov. 27 onwards, farmers will drive their tractors from villages to protest sites surrounding Delhi. With solid fortifications, they will strengthen the movement," the BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said, as reported by Industan Times.
During a meeting with some authorities held on Sunday, he also warned that there would be serious consequences if the Modi administration tries to evict farmers who are camping on the outskirts of New Delhi by force. In recent weeks, tensions between the Indian government and farmers have increased especially after the Oct. 3 protest in northern India, where at least eight people were killed as a result of a clash between the producers and members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).
In Nov. 2020, millions of farmers began protests against a so-called “Agrarian Reform”, which actually contains three laws that leave producers at the mercy of big businessmen and intermediaries. To justify pro-market reforms that eliminate price regulations, however, the Modi administration argues that the new laws attempt to give farmers the ability to negotiate prices and production directly with buyers.
The Sikh community gathered earlier today to protest the arrival of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at #COP26 tomorrow. India is one of Britain’s closest ally states. And it’s these very relationships that allow Modi to continue his brutality. #FarmersProtest #FreeJaggiNow pic.twitter.com/VPNvteL4gT— Suki Sangha (@sukisangh) October 30, 2021
At the beginning of 2021, the negotiations between authorities and farmers failed due to the intransigence of Modi, who did not accept the total repeal of his neoliberal policies. The Supreme Court suspended the entry into force of his reforms and established a committee to consult the impact of the measures with stakeholders.
Meanwhile, farmers have sustained their movement by holding mass assemblies in various northern states. One of the peak days of these protests took place on Republic Day on January 26, when the Indian government brutally cracked down on a tractor march in New Delhi, leaving one person dead and hundreds of citizens arrested.
“Capitalism and free-market ideology continue to dominate policy circles even in the face of unprecedented inequality, rising hunger and extreme poverty… Worse, new attempts are also being made to envision a digital future – of farming without farmers, fishing without fishers- all under the garb of digitalisation of agriculture and to create new markets for synthetic food,” Tikait said in the World Food Day.