Farmers' protest rocks Indian capital

December 2, 2018 - 8:50

TEHRAN _ At a time when Indian Prime Minister is attending the G-20 summit, India's capital city has been rocked by farmers' protest. Thousands of farmers from across the country took to streets in New Delhi on Friday, demanding relief from debt, higher prices for their crop and a session of parliament dedicated to their demands.

The unprecedented rally in New Delhi, experts believe, shows the growing unease and frustration among Indian farmers towards the BJP government for ignoring the needs of farmers, who contribute massively to the country's economy.

According to a report in NPR, India's agriculture sector employs nearly half of India's 1.3 billion people, but it makes up only about 15 percent of the country's economy. Low food prices have depressed rural incomes and farmers are frustrated.

The crowd, report said, comprises more than 200 farmer groups created after police shot to death six farmers at a similar protest in 2017, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Social media also came alive with hashtags like #MarchWithFarmers, in support and solidarity with farmers. There is also a website for those who want to take part in the march, called Dilli Chalo, or “Let's go to Delhi.”

Modi has promised to support farmers, and insists they get a fair deal under his BJP rule. He has also accused opposition parties of using the farmers' plight for political gain.

In the run up to general election in India, observers believe these protests can hurt the chances of Narendra Modi led government to retain power as farmers make the vast percentage of voters.

The participation of many opposition leaders in the march has further made situation worrying for the ruling party.