Caravans of tractors clogged a key highway in northern India on Monday as tens of thousands of farmers protesting against agriculture reforms streamed into the capital ahead of celebrations for RepublicDay.
India marks its founding as a republic on Tuesday with a military parade in the historic city centre, but the farmers, who are demanding a rollback of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s deregulation effort, plan their own peaceful show of strength.
Farmers mainly drawn from the breadbasket states of Punjab and adjoining Haryana have blockaded approaches into New Delhi for about two months to protest against three new farm laws they say will hurt their livelihoods and help big companies.
Their unions are pushing for repeal of the laws, after rejecting a government proposal to suspend the measures it says will usher in much-needed steps to boost farmer incomes.
Several rounds of talks with Modi’s government have made little headway, and protesters now aim to up the ante with the procession set to follow Tuesday’s military parade.