New Delhi, India – Tens of thousands of Indian farmers camping on the outskirts of the capital city, New Delhi, for more than a week have launched a “Bharat Bandh” (nationwide general strike) to demand the scrapping of three farm laws they say will hurt their livelihood and benefit only corporations.
Farmer leaders say the laws are pro-corporate and will gradually lead to the government withdrawing the current guaranteed price mechanism under which it buys agricultural produce from farmers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the three laws passed in September, saying they will boost private investment in the moribund agriculture sector and boost farm income.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from the “grain bowl of India” in the northern states of Haryana and Punjab, have blocked three key highways linking Delhi to neighbouring states and refuse to move until the government accepts their demands.
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