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Indian farmers head home after year-long protests
Tens of thousands of farmers clear protest sites on the outskirts of New Delhi as government repeals agricultural reforms in a rare retreat.
Indian farmers are showered with flower petals as they dance while leaving the protest site on the outskirts of New Delhi [Altaf Qadri/AP Photo]
11 Dec 2021
Thousands of Indian farmers have packed their belongings and dismantled tent cities on the outskirts of Delhi as they headed home following a year-long protest against the government’s agriculture policies.
In a rare retreat last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced and pushed through parliament the repeal of three contentious laws that farmers claimed would let private companies control the country’s agriculture sector.
Hundreds of farmers danced and celebrated the victory early on Saturday as they began removing roadblocks and dismantling thousands of makeshift homes along major highways.
They lit firecrackers, hugged each other and distributed sweets as blaring loudspeakers played patriotic and revolutionary songs dedicated to the agitation.
At Singhu, one of the protest sites, long queues of lorries and tractors packed the highway heading north into their home states of Haryana and Punjab.
Farmers in India have political heft due to their sheer numbers – tens of thousands had camped out since November 2020 to protest against the laws in the biggest challenge to the Modi government since it came to power in 2014.
“We were determined to protest as long as it had taken. But all of us are happy that the government accepted our demands and we are going back to our homes,” Sativinder Singh, one of the Singhu protesters, told AFP news agency.
“It is a big day for the farmers as we can peacefully go back to our homes,” he said.
Indian farmers celebrate while leaving the protest site in Singhu, on the outskirts of New Delhi [Altaf Qadri/AP Photo]
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Farmers vacate a protest site at the Singhu border after the government agreed to their demands, including assurance to consider guaranteed prices for all produce [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]
Farmers vacate a protest site near New Delhi, India [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]
Farmers cheer as they leave the protest site at the Delhi-Haryana state border in Singhu after Prime Minister Narendra Modi abandoned his push for agricultural reforms [Sajjad Hussain/AFP]
A farmer holds a traditional cot as he dismantles a makeshift camp in Singhu [Sajjad Hussain/AFP]
Indian farmers dance and celebrate while leaving the protest site in Singhu, India [Altaf Qadri/AP Photo]
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Farmers celebrate in Singhu after the government agreed to their demands and decided to repeal the three farm laws [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
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