Indian farmers begin 10 days nationwide strike

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Indian farmers on Friday embarked on a 10-day nationwide strike, demanding better prices of produce, complete loan waiver, and payouts to small farmers to match their income, among others.

United under the banner of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (National Farmers’ Union), farmers of western states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, northern states of Punjab and Haryana, and central state of Madhya Pradesh began the strike by launching village blockade agitation.

Local TV channels showed footage of farmers beginning their strike in several parts of Maharashtra, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh by spilling milk and wasting vegetables on the roads.

In Madhya Pradesh, the state that witnessed violent farmer protests in 2017 leading to some deaths in police firing, Agriculture Minister, Gauri Bisen has urged people not to panic at all.

Police in these Indian states have been put on high alert to avert any kind of violence.

“People trying to disrupt law and order situation will be dealt with sternly. We have taken adequate measures to prevent any kind of violence,” said a police official.

In the run-up to the strike, people on Thursday bought vegetables, fruits and milk in bulk across all major cities, even though prices of vegetables rose between 15 per cent and 30 per cent, fearing shortage.

NAN