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Friday, November 26, 2021

India: Eight dead in peasant protest

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At least eight people were killed Sunday in northern India in episodes during a farmers' protest against the federal government of Narendra Monti for almost a year, authorities told Indian media.

Farmers had gathered to protest in the Lahibur Kerry area of ​​Uttar Pradesh, where State Interior Minister Ajay Misra and State Undersecretary Kessab Prasad Mauria were expected.

The incidents broke out around the cars of the ministerial convoy. According to farmers, one of the cars in which his son Ajay Misra was riding crushed four protesters, killing them.

The incident increased the anger of the farmers, who attacked cars of the convoy and set some on fire. Four other people, riding in one of the cars, were beaten to death in the violent incidents, according to farmers present at the mobilization.

"Eight people were killed (…) in Lahibur. Of those, four were farmers and four were inside cars, "said Uttar Pradesh State Police Chief Mukul Goel, speaking on CNN-News18.

Ajay Misra denied the farmers' allegations, telling the press that protesters attacked the convoy and killed a driver and three employees of Baratiya Janata (BJP, "People's Party of India"), who governs the state of Uttar Pradesh, and is also the faction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adatatat, described the incidents as "very sad and unfortunate", calling for calm.

"Before rushing to conclusions, one must wait for the investigation to be completed and the measures to be taken," he said via Twitter last night.

Internet access was cut off in the area. Roads leading to Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, were closed to prevent a new outbreak of violence, according to the press.

Leaders of the opposition and trade unions had announced that they would go to Lahibur Kerry.

The reforms voted in September 2020 give farmers the opportunity to make their products available to buyers of their choice and not to focus exclusively on state-controlled markets. They guarantee a minimum selling price for some products, especially food.

Since late November, farmers have opposed the so-called market liberalization and have blocked roads to New Delhi. The mobilization of farmers is considered one of the biggest challenges facing the government of Narendra Monti and the nationalist Hindu BJP since coming to power in 2014.

The burden of the agricultural sector is high in India: it guarantees the survival of almost 70% of the subcontinent's 1,3 billion inhabitants and contributes about 15% of GDP.

Source: RES

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