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India protests: Thousands of farmers spark chaos in New Delhi – streets lined for 19-miles

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The farmers, numbering in the tens of thousands, are from the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. A media representative from the All India Kisan Sangharsh Committee, which has been organising the protest, said there was now a line of demonstrators outside New Delhi stretching for 19 miles. The demonstrators have said they will intensify their protest after the government refused to concede to their demands.

Currently, the farmers have blocked key highways on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi.

The farmers, mostly from the large agricultural province of Punjab, maintain the Indian government has turned its back on its own farmers by introducing a new law to de-regulate crop prices that they fear could devastate the value of their produce.

The new law would allow the government to buy grain at below the minimum guaranteed price.

The leaders of the farming protest said they were not consulted before the government agreed on the new measure.

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On Saturday Indian agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar met with 35 leaders of the farming sector.

In a press conference, he announced: “We had very good discussions today and we wanted a clear solution but it was not possible”.

He added: “We will consider all the demands they have made and we will reach a solution.

“We assured them that minimum support prices for crops will stay.”

The leader of one of the main farming unions that have taken part in the protests responded by saying, “the government offered amendments to the law, but we want them repealed and, if new laws are made, they must be done with consultations with farmers’ associations”.

The farmers said they would only leave their encampments outside New Delhi when the government retracts the new measures.

Al Jazeera reporter Elizabeth Puranam said: “Farmers maintain that because they think the laws are so fundamentally flawed, because they were created without consultation with farmers and pushed through parliament without a proper vote, that nothing short of repealing the laws will do.

“And they are only expecting the protests to get even bigger.”

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One Twitter follower of the movement explained the importance of the protests.

They tweeted: “This is not only the largest but also perhaps the most important movement of this century so far.

“One billion-plus lives’ food security will depend on the outcome of this protest!

“Hope people realise this!”

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