Bringing to a conclusion the year-long farmers’ protest, on Friday on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of the three Farm Bills passed by the union government in September 2020.
“We have decided to repeal all three farm laws. We will begin the procedure at the Parliament session that begins this month. I urge farmers to return home to their families and let’s start afresh,” said Modi.
He further mentioned the decision to implement ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ to make MSP (Minimum Support Price) more efficient and the formation of a committee comprising the central government, state representatives, farmers, scientists, and economists.
In the 20202 Monsoon session, the Parliament had passed three farm reform bills – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill – in a bid to give more “freedom” to farmers and deregulate the agricultural sector in India.
However, farmers and agricultural organisations across the country strongly opposed the Bills, particularly the provisions regarding market fee and trade area, and began a year-long protest against them.
International media and celebrities including Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg expressed solidarity with the protesting farmers once the movement gained worldwide attention. This support drew censure from the Bills’ supporters and even saw the registration of FIRs against those siding with the protesters.
Following Modi’s announcement, farmers protesting since October 2020 expressed their happiness over the historic win. However, they said that they will not return home until the withdrawal is actually implemented and their outstanding issues resolved. They also expressed their dissatisfaction with the prime minister not condemning the death of over 700 protesting farmers in the last year.
While several celebrities had earlier extended their support to the protesting farmers during the January 26 violence, many had also spoken out against them and supported the Modi government, with actor Kangana Ranaut calling the protesting farmers “terrorists.”
After today’s announcement of the repeal, some members of the film fraternity took to social media and reacted to the news.
Tamil actor Karthi wrote in Tamil, “The announcement by our Prime Minister to repeal the three agricultural laws is a historic victory for the relentless year-long struggle of the farmers, some of whom even scarified their lives for the cause. Love and gratitude to those who fought and to the government that understood.”
Actor Sonu Sood, said, “Farmers will come back to their fields, The country’s fields will wave again. Thanks Narendra Modi Sir, with this historic decision, the light of the farmers in the East has become even more historic.”
Actor Taapsee Pannu, meanwhile, simply shared the announcement and wished everyone a “Gurpurab diyaan sab nu vadhaiyaa.”
Actor Gul Panag wrote, “Grateful to Narendra Modi for repealing the Farm Laws, finally. I wish we didn’t have to let the impasse last this long, cause so many lives to be lost. And demonise, debase, delegitimise the Farm Protest and the protestors.”
She further added, “And no, farmers are not going to forget (or forgive) being called hooligans, ‘mawaalis’ anti nationals, terrorists, goons. Remember that. They have, through their grit and perseverance, forced the hand of this Government that doesn’t back down on anything. Let this be a lesson for future Governments to find the means and the will, to engage with all stake holders when bringing about reform. And also a lesson for law makers – that legislative procedure can’t be circumvented by passing laws in minutes, without discussion and debate.”