01:55 GMT12 April 2021
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    The three contentious farm laws enacted by the Narendra Modi-led government have sparked protests in India's farming states amid the pandemic. Farmers and opposition political parties have deemed the new laws as "anti-farmer", with fears rife that they will give power to corporate firms, leaving farmers deprived of fair prices for their produce.

    Protests intensified in India’s northern state of Haryana on Tuesday as farmers gathered in large numbers to surround the state’s deputy chief Dushyant Chautala's home in Sirsa in protest against agricultural laws passed by the Indian government.

    Security has been beefed up outside the house of the deputy chief minister, who recently defended the new farm laws, calling them “pro-farmer” and accused the opposition of misleading people.

    The ongoing protests in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana, dubbed India’s grain bowls, reached a month on Tuesday. Farmers in Punjab blocked railway tracks and burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for passing the farm laws and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for what they see as politicising and sabotaging the farmers' protest for political gains.

    ​Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi reiterated his attacks against Modi, claiming that the prime minister had destroyed the entire food security system through the latest reforms and that it was an "attack on our farmers”.

    ​​The three enacted farm laws are the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

    The farmers believe the new legislation will bring to an end the price protection given by the government and that private conglomerates will take over their businesses. 

    The agriculture sector, which employs about half of the country's 1.3 billion people, contributes nearly 15 percent to India’s $2.9 trillion economy.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the farmers that the system of Minimum Support Price (MSP) will not be revoked in the future. He defended the legislation and claimed that the reforms would help rid India’s vast farm sector of antiquated laws and allow farmers to sell to large corporates and retailers such as Walmart.

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    Haryana, Sputnik News, Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, farmers, Farms, farm, protest, India
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