17:44 GMT03 March 2021
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    Thousands of farmers have been protesting on the outskirts of India's capital city since November and have blocked roads in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. They want a complete rollback of the agricultural laws passed in the parliament by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government in September 2020.

    As the Indian parliament is witnessing echoes of the ongoing farmers' protests, the farmers protesting on Delhi's borders have threatened to carry on their agitation indefinitely if their demands are not agreed to by the central government.  

    Speaking to Sputnik on Friday, Rakesh Tikait, the top farmer leader and spokesperson for the Bharatiya Kisan Union, said their agitation will not end unless the government repeals the three agricultural laws it passed in September.

    "We are not moving from here until the government listens to us and our demands. We have gone through the cold, water cannons, batons, and even witnessed the death of our brothers (farmers) but this battle will not end. The government will have to take back these laws", Tikait asserted. 

    He has been at the forefront of agricultural protests for years.

    Meanwhile, other farmer leaders are delighted about the farm laws being discussed or debated upon in parliament.

    " [I'm] happy that the issues are being raised by the opposition party and the farm laws are being debated in parliament as there is a genuine reason that the country's farmers are protesting for so long", said Darshan Pal, a Samuykta Kisan Morcha (SKM) leader. 

    For almost three months farmers have been protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

    According to the government, the laws allow farmers to sell their produce at places apart from their designated agricultural market. They also aim at allowing contract farming under which they can enter into supply agreements with private firms for remunerative and pre-decided prices.

    Farmers believe that the new laws will pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system (MSP), leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.


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