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'A big win for castocracy, defeat for Modi government': India hails repeal of farm laws

The unanticipated declaration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to repeal the three controversial farm laws is in principal seen as controlled and accompanied by the political compulsions and multitude of other motives.

The laws were passed in September last year and the government had defended them, saying they were necessary reforms to modernize India’s agricultural sector and boost production through private investment. But the farmers protested, saying the legislation would devastate their earnings by ending guaranteed pricing and force them to sell their crops to corporations at cheaper prices.

The announcement came ahead of key elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The unparalleled firestorm of protest in the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh posed a real challenge to Mr Modi. They had mobilised farmers and civil society in Sikh-majority Punjab and spread quickly to parts of Uttar Pradesh, states which will see key elections early next year.

The government is likely to twirl this as the considerate PM listening to the people and being sympathetic towards them, but after a year of hard protest, animosity and violence, it’s going to be difficult to make that impression stick. Had they been sensitive towards farmers, they would not have allowed 700 peasants to die over the last one year due to the arrogance of Modi government. Who will answer for the loss of lives and also the loss of livelihood of lakhs of farmers for the last one-and-a-half years.

No one should forget that initially, Modi’s Government had tried to disgrace the farmers by dismissing their concerns as motivated by religious nationalism. Some leaders in Modi’s party called them Khalistanis while the PM himself called them ‘Andolanjeevi’ in the Parliament session. Let’s recall how on multiple occasions the capitalist-dependant government and its Ministers called farmers terrorists and anti-national in order to destroy the country's unity and harmony.

Although the farming community welcomed the announcement by Mr. Modi, farmers however said that they will continue their agitation until the government withdraws the three laws in the Parliament. The farmers have hailed it as the victory of a non-violent movement led by young farmers against the arrogance of a few powerful individuals. This victory will go down in history as the one achieved through the unity, struggle and sacrifice of farmers and the one that has come a little late.

This announcement came on the day of the Guru Purab festival, when Punjab Sikhs, who made up most of the protesters, celebrate their founder Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji's birthday. The farm issues affect all farmers in India regardless of their religious denomination though this day is pious for every Indian, the announcement does not only lease and benefit the farmers from Punjab but also all around the country including the strong voice of Haryana and Western UP.

The Left parties on Friday termed the Union government's decision to repeal the three contentious farm laws a "victory of the people's struggle" and indicated that this was just the beginning of the protests against the "anti-people policies" of this dispensation.



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