Indian farmers protest against the reforms at Delhi border.
Indian farmers protest against the reforms at Delhi border - Getty Images
APP Digital Special
APP Digital Special

India faced a massive blockade of its railway tracks and roads on Tuesday as farmers across the country led a massive protest against reforms deregulating the agriculture sector.

With a top trend of #IndiaShutDown and BharatBandh, shops, markets, transport and other business came to a grinding halt across the country.

A total shut down was observed across India on Tuesday to express solidarity with the farmers, mainly Sikhs who have rejected the reforms by Prime Minster Narendra Modi as say they face utter ruin, if not reversed.

The protest in India received widespread support from opposition parties and several other organizations in holding strong demonstrations. To add to the troubles of the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thousands of protesters, mainly Sikhs, held huge demonstrations outside Indian embassies across the top world capitals, giving it an international touch.

 

Farmers-protest-against-government-of-Indian-Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-Photo-by-Reuters
Farmers-protest-against-government-of-Indian-Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-Photo-by-Reuters

The shutdown, called by several farm groups, impacted traffic and movement in some parts of the country. Wholesale agricultural markets in Mumbai and Delhi were shut, while highways were blocked in some states such as Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, according to news reports.

Thousands of farmers, including men, women, children and elderly, have camped around Delhi, facing eyeball to eyeball by thousands of police in riot gear along barricades set on the main roads leading to the capital.

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A seven-hour long round of talks between the government and farmers on Friday failed as the farmers remained adamant that they will not move until the three agriculture laws were repealed and they were given assurances of a minimum price for their crops.

Indian farmers hold massive countrywide protest – Phot by QuartzIndia

Borders connecting capital New Delhi with the northern Uttar Pradesh and Haryana states remained closed causing huge traffic snarls.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from the “grain bowl of India” in the northern states of Haryana and Punjab, blocked three key highways linking Delhi to neighbouring states and refused to move until the government accepts their demands.

“It is not just Punjab and Haryana that have farmers unhappy with these laws. “Protest against the farm laws are going in every state,” Hannan Mollah, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, told Al Jazeera.

A few days back, photograph of a paramilitary policeman swinging his baton at an elderly Sikh man become the defining image of the ongoing farmers’ protest in India.

A photograph of a paramilitary policeman swinging his baton at an elderly Sikh man has become the defining image of the ongoing farmers' protest in India.
A photograph of a paramilitary policeman swinging baton at an elderly Sikh man became the defining image of the ongoing farmers’ protest in India.

The photograph, taken by Ravi Choudhary, a photojournalist with Press Trust of India (PTI), went viral on social media.

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Protests in the United Kingdom were some of the largest witnessed by the Indian High Commission in the recent past. Angry protesters shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies that in the recent past have devastated the huge agricultural sector of India.

Public transport across India grinds to a halt in response to a nationwide strike call by the farmers who have rejected the reforms introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Public transport across India grinds to a halt in response to a nationwide strike call by the farmers who have rejected the reforms introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

 

Report by Shumaila Andleeb