New Delhi, December 04:
The farmers protesting on the outskirts of Delhi against the centre’s new agricultural laws have called an all-India shutdown next week, saying they will block all roads to the capital, amid a stand-off with the government.
Farmers faced a brutal police crackdown in Haryana last week before being allowed to hold a peaceful protest in Delhi against the new laws that they say will leave them at the mercy of large corporations and override safeguards against being cheated.
Union ministers have been holding talks with farmers’ leaders to try and break the deadlock over laws passed earlier this year seeking to deregulate the agriculture sector that has ignited the country’s biggest farm protests in years.
Tens of thousands of growers have camped out at the entrance to Delhi in protest against the laws seeking to rid the sector of antiquated procurement procedures and to allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big international retailers.
The farmers, who form a powerful political constituency, fear the laws passed in September could pave the way for the government to stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.
Farm groups say the government is trying to end a decades-old policy of providing them with an assured minimum price for producing staples, such as wheat and rice.