South Asia

Indian authorities call for dialogue as farmers’ protests intensify

NEW DELHI — Indian authorities on Wednesday, Feb. 21, urged protesting farmers to engage in a fifth round of talks amid an intensifying standoff with police. The call for dialogue comes as the farmers, demanding higher legally-backed prices for their crops, attempted to resume their march to Delhi after rejecting a government offer.

Assistant Inspector General of Police in Haryana, Manisha Chaudhary, stated, “The government wants to move forward to find a solution through discussion.” This appeal was made as police resorted to firing tear gas on the demonstrators.

The protesting farmers, primarily from the northern state of Punjab, began their march in the morning from the point where authorities had previously halted them. They had been stopped at the Punjab-Haryana border, where barricades had been erected to block a key highway.

These farmers, forming an influential voter bloc, are pressing for higher prices backed by law for their crops. This issue becomes particularly significant for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is facing general elections due by May and cannot afford to alienate this group.