Over the past few days, farmers, mainly from Punjab, have arrived at the borders of Delhi, hoping to be able to meet Central government leaders and persuade them to roll back the three agriculture laws passed in September. Their agitation has been met with violent action from police, who have attempted to turn them back by using water cannons and tear gas.
The farmers fear that the new laws will put them at the mercy of large corporations and remove the minimum support price they receive on important crops.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed on September 20. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill was approved in a chaotic voice vote in Rajya Sabha on September 22. The three Bills received President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent on September 27.
On Sunday, the protesting farmers rejected Home Minister Amit Shah’s proposal for conditional talks, declining to shift to the government-designated protest site in North Delhi. The farmers have said that they will continue to proteston the borders of the national capital until they are allowed to go to Jantar Mantar, near the Parliament in Central Delhi.
Indian cartoonists have been making sharp comments about the situation.
To being with, the police decision to dig up a highway to prevent farmers from moving towards Delhi inspired some cartoons.
The brutality of the police, captured in this photo tweeted by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, also elicited some reactions – especially after footage emerged of protestors serving policemen lunch.
This photo of a farmer hit in the face by a tear gas shell also prompted a meme.
Prim Minister Narendra Modi’s seeming indifference to the farmers’ demands caught the attention of some commentators.