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Indian Farmers Stage Tractor Rally in Protest Against New Laws

By Fatima Sule [NAN]

Thousands of farmers on Thursday joined a tractor rally from their protest sites near the borders of New Delhi against contentious agricultural laws.

The protest action, which took place amid high security, was meant as a show of strength ahead of a further round of talks with the government scheduled to start on Friday.

Thousands of farmers from 40 unions took part in the rally, according to farmer activists.

Farmer group leader Joginder Ugrahan said more than 3,500 tractors and trolleys were part of the protest.

The seventh round of talks between the farmer unions and federal ministers ended inconclusively on Monday as farmers groups stuck to their demand for repeal of the three laws.

Protesting farmers object to the new legislation, which the government argues will modernize farming and allied sectors and increase farmers’ incomes.

But many farmers fear the laws that aim to ease regulations around storage and marketing of crops will benefit big corporations and leave them at the mercy of the free market.

According to the protesting farm unions, Thursday’s action was just “rehearsal” for a bigger tractor parade planned to coincide with India’s Republic Day on Jan. 26.

Activists and opposition parties say at least 60 farmers have died – succumbing to extreme cold conditions or suicide – since the protests began on Nov. 24. (NAN)


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