Indian parliament votes to scrap farm laws

Farmers refuse to end protests until their other demands also discussed.

NEW DELHI (AA) – Indian parliament on Monday voted to repeal farm reform laws that had triggered year-long protests by farmers.

As parliament opened for the first winter session, the bill to scrap the laws was passed in both houses.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a surprise move announced that the government will take constitutional measures to repeal the laws.

Indian parliament had enacted these laws in September 2020 amid fierce protests by the opposition parties.

At Monday’s parliament session, the opposition parties blamed the government lawmakers of passing the bills without any discussion.

“3 Anti-Agriculture Laws were passed in Parliament without discussion & have been repealed without discussion,” Randeep Singh Surjewala, a senior leader of the main opposition Indian National Congress party, wrote on Twitter.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan have been camping outside Delhi since November 2020, demanding that the laws be withdrawn. The farmers say the laws will threaten their livelihoods and benefit large corporations and industrialists.

Farmers have been insisting on the total repeal of the laws.

In January, the Supreme Court also ordered an indefinite stay on the implementation of the laws.

The movement, one of the biggest challenges Modi has faced since coming to power in 2014, has also drawn international support. Political analysts now say, the sudden repeal of laws is linked to the upcoming provincial elections — a claim denied by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The farmers have not ended their protest and are demanding other issues like the Minimum Support Price (MSP), which protects them from price shocks in case of a bad crop year, be resolved.

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday said that farmers will not leave the protest site before discussions on MSP.

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