Thousands of girls farmers held sit-ins and a fast in India’s capital on Monday in protests on International Women’s Day against new agricultural laws.
The demonstrations were held at multiple sites on the fringes of latest Delhi where tens of thousands of farmers have camped for quite three months to protest against the laws they assert will leave them poorer and at the mercy of massive corporations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the laws are necessary to modernise agriculture.
About 100 women wearing yellow and green scarfs sat cross-legged ahead of a makeshift stage in Ghazipur, one among the various protest sites. Holding the flags of farm unions, they listened to female farm leaders speak from the stage and chanted slogans against the laws. a minimum of 17 took part during a day-long fast .
Women are sitting here, call at the open, in protest, but Modi doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about mothers, sisters, and daughters. He doesn’t care about women. That’s clear, said Mandeep Kaur, a female farmer who traveled 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) from Chhattisgarh state to participate within the protests.
Multiple rounds of talks between the govt and farmers have did not end the stalemate. The farmers have rejected a suggestion from the govt to place the laws on hold for 18 months, saying they wont accept anything but an entire repeal. They fear the laws will make family-owned farms unviable, eventually leaving them landless.
Women are at the forefront of the protests, which have posed one among the most important challenges to Modi since he took office in 2014. Many accompanied thousands of male farmers who received the protest sites in late November and have since organized and led protest marches, run medical camps and large soup kitchens that feed thousands, and raised demands for gender equality.
Today Modi is sending wishes to women across the country on International Women’s Day. Who are these women he’s sending wishes to? We also are like his daughters, but he clearly doesn’t care about us, said Babli Singh, a farm leader.
International Women’s Day, sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, celebrates women’s achievements and aims to further their rights.
Women often embody what agricultural experts call an invisible workforce on India’s vast farmlands that always goes unnoticed.
Nearly 75pc of rural women in India who work full-time are farmers, consistent with the anti-poverty group Oxfam India, and therefore the numbers are expected to rise as more men migrate to cities for jobs. Yet, but 13pc of girls own the land they till.