Indian police deploy tear gas against protesting farmers

Indian police fired tear gas at protesting farmers on Tuesday, as thousands of growers marched on New Delhi to demand the introduction of guaranteed crop prices.

The demonstrators, who have been advancing towards the capital from the neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab, have so far been prevented from entering the city.

At one key border crossing, police used drones to drop tear gas on protesters. They also fired plastic bullets, causing injuries to a number of people, the BBC’s Punjabi service reported.

The authorities, meanwhile, have turned New Delhi into a ‘fortress’, sealing off multiple access routes to the capital using metal containers, barbed wire, spikes, and cement blocks.

The government has also imposed a ban on large gatherings within the city and temporarily suspended Internet services in parts of Haryana.

The demonstration is redolent of a protest campaign that took place in 2021, which culminated in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s having to repeal unpopular agricultural laws.

The farmers’ groups behind the latest rallies say, however, that the government has not delivered on other key demands, including guaranteed crop prices, a doubling of growers’ income, and loan forgiveness.

The Indian government currently sets a minimum purchase price for certain essential crops at the start of the sowing season, but farmers want this safety net to be extended to cover all farm produce.

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