New Delhi: In a major policy reversal, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced to withdraw the three controversial farm laws at the heart of massive protests by the farmers’ community across the country for over a year.
Opposition leaders have extended congratulations to the farmers over their victory.
“Farmers’ satyagraha has defeated arrogance. Congratulations for this victory over injustice,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
The move to roll back the laws comes months before elections in major states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. It also comes on the 552nd birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak that is mainly celebrated in Punjab from where most of the protesting farmers belong to.
“While apologising to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (dedication) that we could not explain the truth, as clear as the light of the diya, to some of our farmer brothers. But today is Prakash Parv, not the time to blame anyone. Today, I want to tell the country that we have decided to repeal the three farm laws,” NDTV quoted PM Modi as saying.
“In the Parliament session starting the end of this month, we will complete the process of repealing the three laws,” he said in his address to nation.
“I would request all my protesting farmer friends, today is the auspicious day of Guru Purab, return home to your fields and your families and make a new beginning, let us move forward afresh.”
Before the reversal of farm laws, Modi has been defending the laws saying they aimed at uplifting the small and marginal farmers in the country.
“Whatever I did was for farmers. What I am doing is for the country.”
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have been protesting outside Delhi since November 2020, demanding the withdrawal of what the termed “black laws”. A number of protesters were also killed by police and security forces during different clashes.
Rakesh Tikait, a top farmer leader, said the protester would not be ended till the laws were revoked in the parliament session starting on November 29.
The farmers did not stop their protests despite several rounds of talks between the government and protesters.
“We regret we could not convince all farmers. Only a section of them was opposing the laws, but we kept trying to educate and inform them,” PM Modi said.