The protest around the Indian capital has entered its 13th day as farmers called for a nationwide shutdown to make their voices heard on Tuesday.
Speaking to Sputnik, a protester from Delhi who joined the farmers at Singhu Border - one of the main protesting sites today - says she has left everything back home to take part in the demonstration.
"The famers are the ultimate doers of the country. It is because of them that every household is able to eat today. If [the people] do not support them, then I feel it will affect us and it's possible that we might not have anything to eat someday", Charamjeet Kaur told Sputnik.
India farmers stage nationwide strike over controversial new laws pic.twitter.com/06T3OLOMEv— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) December 8, 2020
Several farmer leaders say that they are getting a lot of support from across the country.
"We have been sitting here for the past 13 days and the government is not even listening to us. Almost every second day a farmer is dying but our fight won't stop. We will be here till the end," Dharshan Pal Singh, a farmer leader reveals.
In a sarcastic jab at Narendra Modi, farmers thanked the Indian prime minister for uniting the nation against farm laws, referring to the people from other Indian states who have come in support of them.
"We are not scared of batons, tear gas or water cannons. The government can do whatever they can to break us but we will not back out. People of all age groups are here", Tarun Singh says.
He further mentioned that the recently passed laws are like "Galle Ka faanda" - Hindi for "a noose around the neck" - for them.
"This is a peak season for farmers of our states [Haryana and Punjab], and we are here, leaving our fields and protesting. Even in these adverse conditions PM Modi isn't listening to our demands. We didn't want the laws, they have been forced upon us. He will have to repeal them," Singh adds.
Another protester Biswajeet Charan says that when PM Modi once visited Punjab, he was honoured by locals with a turban, which is a mark of pride for the people of the state. "If the people didn't back down while honouring [Modi], we won't back out fighting against him," Charan says.
Markets Remained Open
Despite several political parties joining the farmers, the demonstration had very little impact on trading across the country. India's largest traders association, The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), and the All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA), the largest organisation of the transport sector has given a nationwide call to traders and transporters to keep open their business establishments.
Security Beefed Up Across the Country
Police officials of several states have taken out circular and traffic advisories for the general public and said strict action would be taken if people are forced to shut down their shop or business.
Video from nationwide strike in India pic.twitter.com/ViF9hKk6YL— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) December 8, 2020
In order to maintain law and order in the capital, Delhi police have made adequate arrangements.
"Out of the 80,000 personnel maximum deployment has been made. Main focuses are markets, borders, Krishi Bhawan - the house of PM Modi," a senior Delhi police officer says.
He reveals that police are patrolling in all the areas while barricades have been erected to keep a check.
Apart from the state police, intelligence agencies have also been put on alert. The farmers are also set to meet the Home Minister later on Tuesday, and a meeting with government officials, including the agriculture minister, is scheduled for 9 December.
The Laws in Question
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
However, the farmers believe the new laws would pave the way for dismantling the minimum support price system (MSP), leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.