One demonstrator died, several were injured. The march violated the limits imposed by the authorities. The city center was occupied in conjunction with the parade for the Republic Day. The farmers are calling for the abolition of the land reform wanted by premeir Modi.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - One protester died and several were injured in clashes between the police and tens of thousands of farmers who invaded the center of the capital with their tractors today (see video). They come mostly from Punjab and Haryana: since the end of November they have been camped outside the city to protest against a controversial land reform wanted by the Modi administration.
On January 12, the Supreme Court suspended the norm's application, but the demonstrators demand its abolition. In recent days, the police and judicial authorities have authorized the procession, with the limit that it proceeded along a predetermined route and did not enter the center of Delhi, where today the parade for the Republic Day takes place.
Instead, many demonstrators forced the police blockades and ventured to the historic Red Fort complex. The officers intervened with tear gas to repel the crowd: the same occurred in other areas of the city center. The camps created by the demonstrators had already blocked several highways on the outskirts of Delhi, causing major problems for urban traffic and the industrial fabric of the area.
Passed in September, the new legislation liberalises the agricultural market, allowing Indian farmers to sell to anyone at any price, instead of being required to sell their crops to state marketing boards at a fixed price. Growers – especially smallholders – argue that the new rules would leave them worse off, making it easier for companies to exploit farm workers and helping large companies cut prices. The fear of teh protesting farmers is that with the new rules the big groups will monopolize the market by imposing more competitive prices.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi defends the initiative, saying it will bring great benefits to tens of millions of growers. Government supporters note that the legislation does not dismantle the rice purchasing system.
(Photo and video credit: f. Suresh Mathew)