Farmers protest: Contrasting the 2024 'Delhi Chalo' march with the 2020 uprising

Delhi on high alert as farmers march again: heavy security deployed to block 200 unions from reaching capital in renewed protests.

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Courtesy: ANI

Indian farmers are taking to the streets again in 2024, as over 200 unions march towards New Delhi on Tuesday demanding government action. This new wave of protests comes after previous demonstrations in 2020-21 forced the repeal of controversial farm laws.

The farmers are slated to begin their "Delhi Chalo" (Let's Go to Delhi) rally at 10am, led by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha. However, authorities have erected barricades and fencing around Haryana and the borders of Delhi in an attempt to prevent the protesters from entering.

The key demand driving these fresh protests is a legal guarantee for minimum support prices (MSPs) for all crops. Farmers are also seeking full debt relief, pension plans, and the dismissal of outstanding cases against protesters from the 2020-21 demonstrations.

Talks between farm leaders and Union ministers on Monday night failed to reach a resolution. While the government proposed forming a committee to address some issues, there was no firm commitment made regarding MSP laws.

This new wave of agitation differs from the 2020-21 protests in several ways:

  • The previous protests focused solely on opposing three controversial farm laws, which were eventually repealed after a year-long demonstration.
  • The new protests involve different unions and leaders compared to 2020-21, as the political landscape has shifted. Prominent past leaders like Rakesh Tikait and Gurnam Singh Charuni are not actively involved this time.
  • Authorities have taken extreme precautions to prevent protesters from reaching Delhi, including barricades, roadblocks and section 144 prohibitions. Past protests were able to enter the capital.
  • The government opened negotiation channels proactively this time, holding initial talks before protests began. However, no firm resolution has been reached so far.

While the farmers' demands remain unmet, their continued activism highlights the ongoing agricultural crisis in India. This new wave of unrest will test the government's willingness to provide legal protections for rural workers.