Candela Province, India: On Wednesday, Indian farmer leaders outlined plans to expand demonstrations against agricultural reform for several months, as their cause has gained widespread attention in the West.
They demanded the repeal of three new agricultural laws so that they harmed the interests of large companies. Since the end of 2020, thousands of farmers have been concentrated in the suburbs of Delhi.
Their peaceful protest was violently disrupted last week when some demonstrators dragged a tractor into the heart of the capital and clashed with the police.
Since then, the police set up roadblocks near the three main protest sites and shut down the Internet in some areas.
The leaders of American pop superstar Rihanna who addressed the top farmers in a post to her 101 million Twitter followers said they would not back down.
“This gathering shows the anger against the government and we will continue our fight,” union leader Rakesh Tikait told a 50,000-strong rally of the politically influential Jat community in northern Haryana state.
He and other leaders said they would send more farmers to the Delhi protest sites and hold similar meetings across the country to gather further support.
Rakesh Singh Vidhuri, a farmer from the neighbouring state of Punjab, the epicentre of the protests, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, said the movement was bringing together growers from across India’s northern breadbasket region.
“The protests have spread because these laws will impact the livelihood of farmers and Indian agriculture overall,” he told Reuters.