What happened to farmers who protested in Delhi?

Supreme court in India stops controversial agricultural laws

New Delhi. The Supreme Court in India has stopped three controversial agricultural laws that thousands of farmers raged for months. The judges set up an independent commission to negotiate compromises between the farmers and the government, as reported by the Times of India. The laws have been suspended until further notice. At least four farmers had killed themselves in protest since the end of November; several others died from the cold and illness in the protest camps on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi. Talks with the government have so far failed.

Presiding Judge Sharad Bobde criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration of the conflict as extremely disappointing. "Each of us will be responsible if something bad happens," he warned. "We don't want blood on our hands." The farmers fear that price guarantees, marketing aids and subsidies will no longer be available as a result of the liberalization of the agricultural market.

In the future, farmers should be allowed to sell their products directly to supermarket chains and other private companies and to negotiate the prices for them. So far most of them have been selling to state-controlled buyers or wholesale markets at minimum prices. The government said the new regulations would benefit 150 million farming families, even if difficulties were to be expected in the short term.

The farmers, on the other hand, refer to the example of the state of Bihar, which has largely liberalized its market and where producers would now have to sell their products at a discount of 25 to 30 percent. Most of the protesters in New Delhi come from the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, the breadbasket of India. They are supported by trade unions and at least 15 opposition parties. It's one of the biggest protests in India in years. epd / nd

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