One year of farm laws: Here’s how farmers’ protest evolved

The controversial farm laws in India were enacted a year ago, on September 17. Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020; Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act of 2020 and Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act of 2020 are the three laws. Farmers are worried that the laws will cancel the government-guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) on specific crops, leaving them helpless before huge enterprises. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the three farm laws on September 27, 2020. Farmers termed it as “Black day”.

Many farmers, generally from Punjab and Haryana, walked to the national capital on November 25 last year, requesting to scrap the enactments as a part of a “Dilli Chalo” campaign. The farmers’ protest, which is additionally depicted as the biggest ever, is still going on. They started their protest in the national capital by camping out at the Singhu border among Delhi and Haryana, just as at the Tikri and Ghazipur borders.

Farmers marching to Delhi were encountered with water cannons and tear gas by police in Haryana’s Ambala locale as police attempted to disperse them. However, they were later allowed to enter Delhi for a peaceful protest at Nirankari camp, northwest Delhi.

On November 28, 2020, Home Minister Amit Shah met with the farmers when they left Delhi’s borders and moved to the assigned protest site in Burari. Nonetheless, the farmers rejected his deal, requesting that the protest happens in Jantar Mantar.

The government held the first round of talks with farmers delegates on December 3, 2020. However, the gathering was uncertain. The second round of negotiations among farmers and the Centre also disappointed on December 5, 2020. Farmers later called for Bharat Bandh on December 8, 2020.

Farmer leaders dismissed the Union government’s proposition to change the three controversial laws and promised to strengthen their disturbance until the laws were revoked additionally. The Supreme Court said it could form a board with the government authorities and farmer associations to end the halt over controversial farm laws.

On December 30, 2020, the 6th round of talks between the government and farmer delegates gained some progress. The Center consented to prohibit farmers from the stubble burning penalty and drop changes to the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020. On January 11, 2021, the apex court agreed to hear petitions testing the new laws, just as those contradicting the protests.

On January 26, 2021, on Republic Day, thousands of protestors clashed with police during a tractor parade called by farmer unions, demanding that the laws be repealed.

After a few protesters from Singhu and Ghazipur moved from their original course, they marched towards the ITO and the Red Fort in Central Delhi, where police utilized tear gas and lathi charges, and a few farmers damaged public property and assaulted police personnel. A few protesters climbed walls and poles to raise the Nishan Sahib flag at the Red Fort, and a protester was killed amidst the chaos.

It’s been one year since the three controversial farm laws were passed, and farmer associations called a “Bharat Bandh” against the laws on September 27, 2021. It started at 6 am and went till 4 pm across the country.

National highways, state highways, and link road and rail line tracks in both Punjab and Haryana were hindered over and again, halting road and rail traffic. Farmers in Punjab started protesting in more than 350 areas. Punjab’s Additional Director General of Police (AGDP) sent out guidelines to the state’s police to keep law and order at protest sites. All protest locales were firmly observed. Highways were shut in 25 spots in Haryana’s Jind area alone. However, farmers allowed the emergency services to continue on the day.