India's Modi breaks silence on months long farm protests


Farmers listen to a speaker during a protest against the farm laws at Singhu border near New Delhi, India, January 30, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's prime minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday protesters that stormed New Delhi's Red Fort had caused "insult" to the country, his first public comments on a months-long farmers' agitation that turned violent last week.

Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of the capital for more than two months, protesting new agricultural laws they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.

A tractor parade on Tuesday's Republic Day turned violent when some protesters deviated from pre-agreed routes, clashing with police and breaking into the historic Red Fort complex in the capital. One died and hundreds were injured.

"The country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolor (Indian flag) on the 26th of January in Delhi," Modi said in a radio address on Sunday.

"The government is committed to modernizing agriculture and is also taking many steps in that direction."

Farm leaders say they were not responsible for violence, that was caused by a minority of those on the parade, and the government has left open the possibility talks between the two sides will resume.

Modi told opposition party leaders on Saturday an offer to freeze the laws for 18 months still stands, according to a government summary of the meeting.

Agriculture employs about half of India's labour force, and unrest among an estimated 150 million landowning farmers is one of the biggest challenges to Modi's rule since he first came to power in 2014.

(This story corrects to last week, not this week, in first paragraph.)

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

UK children can stop nude photos being shared online with new tool
‘Lifeline’ tech helps poor rural women get through India’s Covid-19 crisis
Saudis who killed journalist Khashoggi received paramilitary training in U.S. -New York Times
Washington calls Peru election 'fair' despite Fujimori claims of voter fraud
Britain's spy agency honours codebreaker Turing in giant artwork
People want trusted news, Reuters Institute says
Police tear gas indigenous protest for land rights in Brazil
Canadian lawmakers pass bill criminalizing LGBT conversion therapy
Sudan asks U.N. Security Council to meet over Ethiopia's Blue Nile dam
U.S. Senate war powers vote now delayed until at least July

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers