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INDIAN farmers held a sit-in protest close to the parliament in New Delhi today over the implementation of damaging new agricultural laws.
It was the first time that authorities had granted permission for a demonstration in the Indian capital since violent clashes in January during which a protester was killed.
Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said that throughout the monsoon session of parliament, scheduled to conclude on August 13, 200 farmers will go to the nearby Jantar Mantar outdoor observatory “to hold a farmers’ parliament to remind the government of our long-pending demand.”
The first such gathering took place today after agricultural workers gathered in the parliament compound carrying banners reading: “Save the country, save the farmers.”
The farmers oppose three laws which they say will increase the cost of food through the removal of fixed-price tariffs.
They also fear they will be left to the mercy of the free market as the sector is opened up to big business.
Mass protests began across the country last August, while 12 rounds of talks between farmer representatives and the government have failed.
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