South Asia

Indian farmers open to dialogue after clashes with police

Farmers in India, demanding higher government-backed prices for their crops, stated on Thursday, Feb. 22, that they remain open to negotiations with the government for a peaceful resolution following Wednesday’s clashes with police. The previous day’s confrontations resulted in injuries among the protesters.

The farmers, primarily from Punjab in northern India, are seeking legally guaranteed higher prices for their crops.

Their demands are significant in the context of the upcoming general elections due by May, as they represent a crucial voter base for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Monday, Feb. 19, the farmers’ groups dismissed the government’s offer of five-year contracts and guaranteed support prices for certain crops, including corn, cotton, and pulses.

Sarwan Singh Pandher, a farmers’ union leader, claimed that one protester was killed and three were injured in Wednesday’s clashes in Haryana state. However, this was denied by Haryana state police.

These protests recall similar demonstrations two years ago when farmers camped at the New Delhi border for months, ultimately leading to the repeal of a set of farm laws by Modi’s government.