New Delhi – As the pomp and color of the military parade, India’s Republic Day celebrations are the most eye-catching.
But on Tuesday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government prepared to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the country’s constitution with another parade by the armed forces, an unexpected force was preparing to step up the show.
India’s protesting farmers, who have been camping at the gates of New Delhi for two months, Mr. Modi has sought to repeal laws that would revive Indian agriculture, preparing to march into the capital with thousands of tractors. Were staying.
The force’s demonstrations, after the central government failed in its frenzied attempts to stop the tractor march, dramatically described how much the deadlock with farmers has embarrassed Mr. Modi. Though he has emerged as the most prominent figure in India after crushing his political opposition, the farmers are steadily declining.
Mr. Modi said in September through the three agricultural laws of Parliament that he expected the private sector to invest in a sector that has been troubled by inefficiency and lack of funds for decades. But peasants quickly rose up against him, saying the looseness in government regulations had left him at the mercy of the corporate giants who would handle his business.
As their opposition grew in size and anger, with tens of thousands of peasants camped in the cold for two months and dozens of deaths between them, the government has offered to amend parts of the laws to contain their demands. . The country’s Supreme Court also intervened, ordering the government to suspend the laws until it reached a resolution with the farmers.
But the farmers say that they will not reduce the oppression and they have started increasing the pressure. In addition to his tractor march on Tuesday, he has announced plans to organize a foot march in the Indian Parliament on 1 February, when the country’s new budget will be presented.
Tensions had intensified on Tuesday, with some officials claiming that the protests were intruded by rebel elements who would resort to violence if they allowed peasants inside the city. Just a few days before the tractor march, farmer leaders brought a young man in front of the media, who claimed to have arrested the suspect on Tuesday for conspiring to shoot the leaders to disrupt the rally. Neither set of claims could be independently verified.
There was some confusion about the scope and size of the tractor march before it began. Reports in the local media quoted Delhi Police documents stating that the march would begin only after the high-profile Republic Day parade in New Delhi. The report also states that the number of tractors and how long they can remain inside the city.
But at a press conference on Monday, farm leaders said that as long as they did not stick to the routes set by the Delhi Police, there was no limit to the time and number of tractors. The map of the routes suggested a compromise between farmers and police that could allow protesters to enter the city, but did not get close to sensitive institutions of power.
Leaders said that around 150,000 tractors had gathered at the capital’s borders for March, that about 3,000 volunteers would try to help police keep order, and that 100 ambulances were on standby.
Farm leaders, both in statements as well as statements made during the news conference, repeatedly appealed for peace as they marched the tractor.
“Remember, our aim is not to win Delhi, but to win over the hearts of the people of this country,” he said in the instructions posted online for marchers who were told not to carry weapons – ” Not even sticks “- in the meantime to avoid marches and inflammatory slogans and banners.
One of the prominent leaders of this movement, Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “The trademark of this movement has been peaceful.” “I request our farmer brothers, our youth, to keep this movement peaceful. The government is spreading rumors, agencies have started misleading people. Be careful with this
“If we remain calm, we have won. If we become violent, Modi will win.
Hari Kumar contributed reporting.