Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Farmers participate in a tractor rally on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, on Jan. 7, 2021.

ADNAN ABIDI/Reuters

Tens of thousands of farmers on tractors occupied a stretch of an expressway on the periphery of the Indian capital New Delhi on Thursday in one of the biggest shows of strength since they began a sit-in against deregulation of farm markets more than a month ago.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has held several rounds of talks with the farmers to placate them, offering concessions on the three laws it passed last year to bring private investment into the country’s antiquated agriculture markets.

But the farmers have resisted the overtures and been camped at an interstate border near the village of Kundli outside Delhi for more than 40 days demanding the government withdraw the laws.

Story continues below advertisement

On Thursday, the protesters mostly from the Sikh-dominated northern state of Punjab, which is one of the country’s leading producers of wheat and rice, took to the highway.

Turbaned young men and elderly farmers with flowing beards rode a convoy of tractors numbering in the thousands, some with loud music blaring.

There was no sign of any police presence.

“We want Modi to repeal the three laws,” said Rajvinder Singh, 35, a farmer from Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

He said the rally was a way to build pressure on the government in the lead-up to India’s Republic Day on Jan. 26 when the farm unions have threatened to march on to the centre of the capital if the laws are not revoked by then.

Farmers fear that the deregulation under which food processors and big retailers can directly buy produce from them will eventually replace government-regulated wholesale markets where they are guaranteed a minimum price for their produce.

The government says the state-regulated market yards will continue alongside the new ones and has offered to give written assurances to the farmers they will continue to get a minimum price.

Story continues below advertisement

On Friday, the two sides will sit down for another round of talks.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies