Months of protests in India over new farming laws

Taken from Al-Jazeera.

A set of three laws passed in September aim to deregulate India’s enormous agriculture sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said they will “liberate” farmers from the tyranny of middlemen.

But many farmers fear that they stand to lose more than they could gain from the new regulations and that the main beneficiaries will be agricultural corporations with gargantuan financial firepower.

As a result, the farmers have taken to the streets in the biggest such protests in years.

Tens of thousands of farmers, largely from Punjab and Haryana, have been parked on various highways on Delhi’s borders since the end of November, demanding the rollback of new farm laws they say will help big corporations and leave them at the mercy of the free market. India’s rural landscape is notoriously male-dominated, but thousands of women have become a pillar of the farmer protests blocking roads into New Delhi.

More than 1500 telecom towers have been vandalised in the area of Punjab. They were owned by one of the companies that is set to benefit from the new laws.

After months of escalating protest alongside negotiations with the Prime Minister India’s Supreme Court has paused the implementation of the three new farm laws.

Mahavir Singh of the All India Kisan Sabha told Al Jazeera the union would call off the protests only when the laws are revoked.

“Our simple demand is revoke the laws. Unless the laws are repealed, we will continue our protest,” he said.