New Delhi, India – Even India beats a second and most violent In the wake of sexually transmitted diseases, thousands of farmers are demanding that government regulations passed last year be resolved and that they continue their protests outside the capital, New Delhi.
Since November, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting against three new agricultural laws imposed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which farmers say have ruined their lives by giving government agencies more power over the project.
While Modi says the legislation will improve agriculture in India, a number of negotiations between farmers’ organizations across the country and the government have failed to address the issue.
Although an Increased complications of COVID-19, which has seen the world’s most populous country break records of daily infectious diseases and deaths for weeks, has failed to crack down on farmers ’protests, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the north.
“Agricultural law is more of a threat to us than a corona,” Kittu Maan Singh, a spokesman for the Delhi-Tikri border and Haryana’s neighboring government, told Al Jazeera.
Farmers at the border could see them disregarding COVID-19 guidelines regardless of height or face masks.
Singh, from Punjab, has been protesting for several months now against what farmers call “black” laws.
“We will survive the situation of COVID-19 but if we do not reject the black farming laws that the Modi government has introduced, our future is uncertain,” he said.
Gurdarshan Singh, 61, from Wazirpur village in Patiala district in Punjab, is holding a demonstration at the Singhu border, another entrance to the capital from Haryana, where, as in Tikri, thousands continue to gather.
“We’re not afraid of COVID-19 because we have big things to worry about,” Singh, who owns a small facility, told Al Jazeera.
Singh questioned the government’s response to agricultural legislation in the midst of the epidemic, not to discuss the law with farmers or opposition parties.
“If the government is deeply affected by the epidemic, why not bring farm regulations in the middle of the epidemic without asking if we want to change or not,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Why can’t the government announce its repeal? We will continue to hold protests until the government reinstates them and tells us to support agriculture. ”
Singh said there had been a decline in protests in three places outside New Delhi in recent weeks. But he said this was not because of the epidemic, but because it was time for the wheat harvest.
Since late November, tens of thousands of farmers have set up camp on three main roads outside New Delhi, erecting hundreds of tents and using tractors to block roads.
Some farmers have even built brick houses on highways, expecting the government to remain in turmoil for a long time.
Many kitchens continue to provide food and volunteers provide hospitals for free. Inside their tents and tractors, farmers installed fans with cold water to deal with the extreme heat in India.
Farmers are refusing to leave the area unless the government approves a full refund of agricultural regulations and guarantees them a continuation of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system which gives them a lower selling price on their produce.
So far, health experts have expressed concern over the ongoing demonstration, given the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the country.
“It’s difficult because by now we know that every big party is going to be scary – whether it’s a political rally, a religious rally or a protest venue,” Health Specialist Anant Bhan told Al Jazeera.
“Having so many people can be difficult, especially since health facilities around New Delhi are now collapsing. Oxygen and beds are in short supply.”
Epidemiologist Dr Giridhara R Babu told Al Jazeera that all groups of people with 10 or more people should be avoided.
“No gatherings should be allowed, whether it is a movie theater or a wedding. Any type of crowd should be avoided at this time because the waves are everywhere, ”he said.
Mr Bhan said all government officials and farmers’ leaders should be aware of the dangers of continuing with the protests, which could affect the people involved.
A spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Syed Zafar Islam, told Al Jazeera that his government had shown its willingness to engage with farmers, but it was up to them to end the protest.
“It is up to the protesting farmers who have to decide that this is not the time for protests. The government is willing to do this, “he said.
“It is important for farmers to be aware that their protests, whatever they are doing, are inappropriate, especially as the epidemic is spreading and could be effective against the virus.”
But farmers’ leader Satnam Singh Behru wonders why the government is not repealing the law to allow protesting farmers to return home.
“Why doesn’t the government approve of our demands? If they agree to what we want, we will return to our homes tomorrow, ”said Behru.
“We have lost more than 350 farmers in those months. They have died of a heart attack, an accident, or suicide. In any event, we will not return home unless the government approves our request. ”