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One Year of India’s Farmers’ Protest

By Shinedip Kundlas

Volume 2 Issue 1

October 8, 2021

One Year of India’s Farmers’ Protest

Image provided by Jaskaran Singh

It’s been one year since the farmers in India had started to protest the three agriculture acts which were passed in September of last year by the Parliament of India. Since August 2020, an estimated of 200 million people in India have participated in the ongoing protest of the three agriculture laws. Here’s a recap of the protests.

August 2020: India enters a recession

Economists in August announced that India has entered its biggest recession in history. Farmers who couldn’t sell their crops at the wholesale markets, also known as “mandis”, had been closed and shut down by the government, panicked.

August 2020: Protests Begin

Reports come in as protests against the new agriculture laws began in Northern states such as Punjab and Haryana. The All India Kisan Sangharsh coordination committee began to assist in these protests.

September 2020: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commission Act is passed by Prime Minister Modi

In September, PM Modi passes the new Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commission Act. According to the Indian government, this act grants farmers “more freedoms” by dismantling the APMC and permitting them to market their crops to anyone for any price. Many of the farmers opposed; they argued that it will leave them more susceptible than ever since this act allows major corporations to drive down the cost of key crops. PM Modi and the government has proposed and crafted this act without any input from the farming community.

November 11, 2020: Burning of fields

Farmers began demonstrating their frustration and anger with the new laws by burning their fields. In response to the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commission Act instead of hand clearing any leftover crop residue, the workers chose to burn the leftover crop residue.

November 23, 2020: The March towards Delhi

From across the nation, Indian farmers began marching towards Delhi, India’s capital. Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim farmers walked together to their march for justice. The farmers were met with large police groups on November 26. They used tear gas, water cannons, and physical force to keep the farmers from entering. However, despite this, the farmers kept pushing forward.

November 26, 2020: The world’s largest strike happens in India

On Nov. 26, over 250 million workers from industries like banking, to transportation, to oil and natural gas production, to doctors and teachers, went on the world’s largest coordinated strike of all time.

November 27, 2020: Granted Entrance to Delhi

After news broke worldwide, the government announced that the protesters would be granted peaceful access to Delhi. Protestors quickly spread out taking over streets and highways.

December 1, 2020: Government officials meet with protest leaders

For the first time, government officials officially meet with protest leader. Both sides agreed the talks had been “good” even though no conclusion or decision had been made.

December 8, 2020: Strike shuts down parts of India

Thousands of protesters effectively shut down public transportation, shops, and markets nationwide during the ongoing strike.

January 24, 2021: Tractor Rally

With tractors, farmers protest on the streets of Delhi despite the harsh conditions they are meant with. However, the Modi Administration refuses to rescind the three agricultural laws farmers have protested for months, in spite of renewed discussions between the Indian Supreme Court and union leaders.

February 4, 2021: Celebrities speak out

Indian government officials slammed celebrities and others for their comments supporting farmer protests, calling them "neither accurate nor responsible". This followed Rihanna, Teen activist Greta Thunberg, and niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, lawyer-author Meena Harris' spoke out on the farmer protests.

March 05, 2021

In the interest of the farmers and Punjab, a resolution was passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, to call for the unconditional withdrawal of the farm laws and the continuation of the government's existing food grain procurement system based on the MSP

March 8, 2021: 100 Days

Farmers complete 100 days at Delhi’s borders.

May 27, 2021: Black Day

The farmers marked six-months of the agitation by burning effigies of government officials. Although the crowds at the three borders have thinned, farm leaders said that the protests would continue until 2024.

June 26, 2021: Seven months

More farmers march to Delhi to mark seven months of protest against the farm laws.

August 7, 2021: Visit of ‘Kisan Sansad’

Leaders of 14 opposition parties met at the Parliament House and decide to visit Kisan Sansad (Farmers’ Parliament).

August 28, 2021

Haryana Police brutally attacked farmers at the Bastara toll plaza on the national highway, resulting in several injuries. The protests against the farm law passed last year have renewed the spotlight once again.

September 11, 2021

After a five-day standoff between farmers and the Karnal (Haryana) district administration, a retired judge from the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been recruited to conduct a probe into the August 28 police brutality on farmers at the Bastara toll plaza, ending the five-day standoff.

September 17, 2021:

September 17, 2021 marks one year of India’s Farmers’ Protest.

September 27, 2021

The farmer bodies announce Bharat Bandh (National Strike) with many other groups and bodies joining in support and solidarity with farmers.

It’s been one year since the Farmers’ Protest has begun. It’s been ten months since Indian farmers have been sleeping on the border of Delhi.

Notes & Resources:

  1. A thorough article clarifying what the massive, historic farmers’ protests in India are about can be found here.

  2. An outline to how the MSP affects the numerous states of India can be found here.

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