Number of small farmers felt threatened by the reforms enacted in September 2020 were likely, they say, to force them to sell off their goods to large companies for flow.
The turnaround is a surprise. After a year of mass protests of angry farmers, India has finally decided to repeal three laws of agricultural reform. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said, Friday, November 19:
“We will initiate the constitutional process to repeal three laws during the parliamentary session that begins at the end of the month.”
“I appeal to all farmers participating in events to return home to find their loved ones, their farm and their families, in auspicious day of Guru Purab ‘, the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism , said the Indian prime minister. “Take a fresh start and move forward,” said he said.
The weight of the agricultural sector is huge in India, ensuring the livelihood of nearly 70% of its inhabitants (numbering 1.3 billion, contributing about 15% of GDP.
“What I did, I did for farmers. What I do, I do it for the country,” said the head of government, 71 years old. “I want to assure you today to work harder so that your dreams can be realized, the country that dreams can be realized,” he promised.
Amarinder Singh, former chief minister of the Congress opposition party in the state of Punjab, where do many protesters, immediately welcomed the announcement of Mr. Modi, describing it as “great news” .
“Thanks to the Prime Minister to have acceded to the demands of all the [inhabitants of Punjab] and have repealed the three black laws,” responded Amarinder Singh on Twitter . “I am sure that the central government will continue to work together for the development of [agriculture],” he said.
The agricultural reforms were passed in September 2020 to allow farmers to sell their produce to buyers of their choice, rather than turning exclusively to market state-controlled ensuring them a minimum support prices for some commodities . Many small farmers are opposed since November 2020 at major events, considering himself threatened by this liberalization, they say, may force them to sell off their goods to large companies for flow.
Since then, the protesters camped out on the roads on the outskirts of New Delhi, where a solidarity network was set up. Every day, tractors deliver their wood and food carts. This agricultural movement is one of the greatest challenges the country has faced since the arrival in power of Narendra Modi in 2014.
The protests took a turn particularly violent in January during a gathering of farmers came with their tractors in New Delhi on the day of the national holiday celebrating the Indian Republic. The dispute then turned into clashes with police during which a farmer was killed and hundreds of police were injured.
Last month in Uttar Pradesh, eight people died, four farmers in clashes occurred during a visit of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ajay Mishra.
In recent months, though sites of peasant protest were sparse, a contingent of determined activists remained in place and major events were expected this month to mark the first anniversary of their arm wrestling with government .