16:25 GMT26 January 2021
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    Over 30 farm organisations have been protesting at the borders of the Indian capital since the end of November against farm laws brought about by the Narendra Modi government. The laws were ratified by the Indian parliament in September last year.

    Rahul Gandhi, one of the key figures of India's main opposition party Congress, has slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the death toll of protesting farmers swelled to 60 in the ongoing agitation against new farm laws.

    Dozens of farmers have lost their lives at the protest site, largely due to health complications arising out of the extreme weather. 

    Calling for a "repeal of anti-farm laws", Gandhi said in a tweet, "Modi government's apathy and arrogance have claimed lives of over 60 farmers".

    In the next line, written in Hindi, Gandhi urged the Modi government to abandon its stubbornness on the farm laws.

    Farmers in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh are against the new laws that were introduced by the Modi government and approved by the parliament in September last year.

    On Monday, a spokesperson of one of the major farmer bodies, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), stated that 60 people had died during the ongoing protests.  

    The laws are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Law, 2020 and the Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Law, 2020. The farmers are also opposing the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

    The entire opposition led by the Indian National Congress is supporting the farmers. The laws seek to liberalise the agricultural produce marketing and sales system, which the farm organisations are against. The protesting farmers believe that the new reforms will render the system of minimum support price (MSP) redundant.  

    The MSP system allows an assured offtake of farm produce at a government rate announced at the end of every harvest season.

    Protesting farmers have been camping at various borders of the Indian capital of New Delhi and have said that they will hold a tractor march inside Delhi on Republic Day on 26 January if their demand to have the laws scrapped is not met by that time.


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