- Major protests in India following the introduction of free-market farming laws by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government set to continue.
- There have already been six rounds of talks but nothing has come of them as demonstrations continue across the country.
- Tear gas and water cannons have both been used to try and deter demonstrators who are prepared for the long haul and have months of supplies.
- There have been at least 15 deaths as a result of clashes with the police during the protests.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
In India, protests have engulfed several cities over the introduction of three federal farming laws by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in September.
The agricultural industry has been deregulated in an attempt to provide farmers with more autonomy when choosing prices.
Farmers are now expected to sell goods to independent buyers rather than through government-sanctioned marketplaces, which they say will reduce their earnings and leave them vulnerable to large private companies due to the lack of minimum pricing.
The government argues that farmers' incomes will improve with a wider market to sell to while the middleman will also be abolished, leading to a more modernized and efficient industry.
But farmers, many on the brink of poverty, fear for their livelihoods. The Indian capital New Delhi was brought to a standstill on Tuesday after a strike called 'Bharat Bhand' or 'India Closed.'
There have been at least 15 deaths as a result of clashes with the police during the protests.
The reforms caused havoc as soon they were passed with eight Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MPs suspended.
They began protesting inside India's Upper House, The Rajya Sabha or Council of States and then outside the building overnight.
Source: Hindustan Times
The capital New Delhi was brought to a standstill on Tuesday after a strike called 'Bharat Bhand' or 'India Closed.'
Approximately 300,000 farmers mainly from the largely rural states of Punjab and Haryana have arrived in the capital and its outskirts.
Source: The Telegraph
The largely peaceful, nationwide strike was declared a success by the trade unions who organized it.
Community leaders told protesters at the Delhi-Haryana border that it had made the government "open their eyes and ears" and that they would now be seeking a "yes or no" to their demands.
Source: The Times of India
There have already been six rounds of talks but nothing has come of them with protests continuing.
Modi said: "I know that decades of falsehood do put apprehensions in the minds of farmers, I want to say this from the bank of Mother Ganga — we are not working with the intention of deceiving. Our intentions are as holy as the water of the river Ganga."
The majority of the protests are taking place at the Delhi-Haryana border in the north of India but also in other parts of the country.
The police have used tear gas various times during the largely peaceful demonstrations across the country.
They have also used water cannons to try and disperse crowds but protesters continue to come out in force.
Protests supporting the farmers' cause were also held in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
All of the demonstrations across the country were organized by 'Sikhs For Justice,' a US-based human advocacy organisation which supports the secession of historical Punjab from India as Khalistan.
Sikhs make up the majority of Punjab which is the richest state in India due to its agricultural industry but have been historically persecuted and discriminated against by the Indian government.
Source: Sikhs for Justice
A demonstration was also held outside the India High Commission in London last weekend.
According to the Sikh Federation UK, there was one arrest during the official protest and 13 outside that time, four of whom were dearrested and nine of whom were detained for COVID-19 breaches.
Led by the Sikh Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, 36 MPs across the UK have come out in support of the farmers and asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to raise the matter with Delhi.
There were also protests in Leicester, Birmingham and Edinburgh recently with plans for one to be held in Cardiff in the near future.
Source: Times of India
However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was later labeled "clueless" regarding the issue.
It followed his response to a question posed by Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday.
He asked: "Will the Prime Minister convey to the Indian prime minister our heartfelt anxieties, our hopes for a speedy resolution to the current deadlock, and does he agree that everyone has a fundamental right to peaceful protest?"
Johnson said: "Our view is that of course we have serious concerns about what is happening between India and Pakistan, but these are pre-eminently matters for those two governments to settle."
Jas Singh, a Sikh Federation UK Advisor, told Business Insider: "I'm absolutely shocked and dismayed. How could the Prime Minister who visited Gurdwaras as part of his election campaign not be in tune with one of the largest protests in the country?
"It's complete ignorance of Sikh issues. Everyone just assumes that everything anti-India is to do with Pakistan."
Although Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first world leader to comment on the protests.
He made the remarks during a Facebook video interaction organised by Canadian MP Bardish Chagger to mark Gurupurab or the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Founder of Sikhism.
The Canadian Prime Minister said: "I would be remiss if I didn't start by recognising the news coming from India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning. We are all very worried about family and friends. We know that's a reality for many of you.
"Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protesters. We believe in the process of dialogue. We've reached out through multiple means to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns. This is a moment for all of us to pull together."
However, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: "We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India.
"Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It's also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes."
Trudeau later added: "Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protest anywhere around the world. And we're pleased to see moves toward de-escalation and dialogue."
Many have brought months worth of supplies with them and have no plans to give up any time soon.
They continue to protest throughout the cold harsher months as well as the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed 142,186 Indians.
This makes it the country with the third-highest death rate in the world after the US's nearly 300,000 and Brazil's 179,765 deaths.
Source: Johns Hopkins University
Local people, charities, Gurdwaras and other places of worship are also helping support those demonstrating.
Volunteers have also been donating blood with 300 also lined up outside a donation van in Tikri, Delhi on Wednesday alone.
Source: The Indian Express
There have also been various clashes and incidents between protesters and the authorities.
One image in particular, featuring a soldier and a farmer went viral and was also tweeted by Rahul Gandhi, a prominent Indian MP and a former President of the Indian National Congress Party.
He captioned it:"This is a very sad photo. Our slogan was Jai Jawan (soldiers), Jai Kisan (farmers), but today PM Modi's arrogance has pitted the soldier against the farmer. This is very dangerous."
—Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 28, 2020
Amit Malviya, the Head of the BJP's Information & Technology Department responded to the tweet by posting a video clip of the scene which was flagged as 'manipulated media' by Twitter.
He said: "Rahul Gandhi must be the most discredited opposition leader India has seen in a long long time."
—Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 28, 2020
However, the elderly farmer from the photo later told local media outlets that he had indeed been hit multiple times by authorities.
Meanwhile, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut came under fire for her comments about the demonstrations.
Known for her controversial comments on various issues, Ranaut suggested that the farmers protesting were actually paid actors.
The actress also replied to a tweet and said that those supporting protesters were provoking "innocent farmers to incite violence, hatred and Bharat Band for their petty gains."
She continued that people like actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Punjabi singer Diljit Dosanjh would be hailed by the left wing media.
Ranaut also added that they would both go on to be awarded in a system designed to make anti-nationalists flourish.
—Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) December 11, 2020
—Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) December 11, 2020
Many celebrities have been accused of not speaking out on the issue, particularly those who have benefitted from Punjabi culture.
Jas Singh from the Sikh Federation UK also told Business Insider: "It's a matter of great shame that those who have taken from Punjab have not shown solidarity in its hour of need.
"Anyone who has benefitted from the land of Punjab and Maa Boli (the mother tongue, Punjabi) through films and music has an obligation and a duty to speak out."
Farming has a major influence on Indian voting patterns despite only contributing some 18% to the GDP.
Around 40% of the country's total population work within the agricultural sector but it is also an industry underlined by poverty.
India has one of the highest farmer suicide rates in the world with 10,282 farmer and farm laborer deaths by suicide in 2019 alone.