Indian farmers have intensified their protests against three farm laws amid Parliament’s ongoing monsoon session.
On Monday Congress leader Rahul Gandhi rode a red tractor to the Parliament building in the heart of Delhi in support of the ongoing farmers’ protest.
Followed by several Congress workers and security guards, the 50-year-old former party chief was behind the wheel of the machine, which was emblazoned with slogans backing the farmers.
“If you force to sell our lands, then the tractor will run in Parliament – we will grow the crops of truth! Withdraw the anti-agriculture laws,” the Congress leader wrote alongside a picture he posted on Twitter, issuing a warning to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
अगर खेत बेचने पर मजबूर करोगे, तो ट्रैक्टर संसद में चलेगा- सत्य की फ़सल उगाकर रहेंगे!
कृषि-विरोधी क़ानून वापस लो।#FarmersProtest pic.twitter.com/19PnIRet4U
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 26, 2021
His stunt came after 200 female farmers and activists stoked the situation in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar area near the Parliament building. They were demanding the government repeal the controversial farm laws.
“Along with voicing our demands seeking complete repulsion of the agricultural laws, we are also expressing grave disappointment at people who have called us derogatory names, including ‘terrorists’ and ‘paid actors’ in these past few months,” farmer leader Babli Singh told Sputnik.
“It’s completely unacceptable. We are the food providers of this nation and our issues deserve to be heard and resolved,” Singh, who is an active member of farmer union Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), stated.
Obtained by @SputnikInt – women farmers organise ‘Mahina Kisan Sansad’ in Jantar Mantar, Delhi to intensify farmerr’ protest against farm laws.
Women farmers are expressing disappointment at their community being called names in the backdrop of the ongoing protests. pic.twitter.com/yKq1hhoPXt
— Radhika Parashar (@_RadhikaReports) July 26, 2021
The two new farm bills and one amendment act that has stirred the protests are the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
While Prime Minister Modi and his government back the three farm laws and call them “progressive,” the farmers fear they will dilute the minimum support price (MSP) system, as the new laws now require farmers to sign supply contracts with buyers.
Over 300 farmers have died amid the protests due to natural causes, hot weather, and suicides, union leaders claim.
Agricultural activist Kavitha Kuruganti – who has participated in the protests – told Sputnik that opposition parties as well as the common people of India must support the farmers during these testing times.
“Everybody who wants food sovereignty and fair income for farmers must support their protests. Be it the opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi or common people like you and me. Our tents on Delhi borders are wet and waterlogged because of the monsoons. But we will stay put unless the laws are revoked,” Kuruganti noted.