Indian Farmers Vow to Continue Protest, Unappeased by Court Ruling

The decision by India’s highest court on Tuesday to temporarily suspend the implementation of new farming laws at the center of huge protests appeared unlikely to end the weekslong showdown choking New Delhi, as protesting farmers declared the suspension a politically-motivated “trick” to ease the pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the New York Times reported. The Supreme Court said that it was halting the market-friendly laws until a committee of experts, appointed by the court, could consult with government officials and protesting farmers to try to find a solution to the dispute. But protest leaders, who have been pressing for nothing short of repealing the new laws that they say diminishes the little state protection they have and leaves them at the mercy of corporations, said the names of the four members of the committee further confirmed their skepticism. All four tasked with providing expert opinion to the court on the future of the laws had made public statements in support of the laws, they said. “This is the government tactic to reduce pressure on” itself, said Balbir Singh Rajewal, a leader of one of the farmer unions. “All the committee members are pro government. All are people who so far justified the government laws — they are writing articles to justify the government law. We have decided that our agitation will continue.” Tens of thousands of farmers have besieged New Delhi for more than six weeks now, setting up well-organized protest camps stretching for miles at all of the capital’s main entrances. They have stood firm despite the winter cold, frequent rain and dozens of deaths in their ranks. The farmers said they will not only continue their sit-ins around New Delhi, but they will go ahead with a large tractor march inside the capital later this month. The government has tried to prevent the march from happening with claims that the protesters are “infiltrated” by separatist militants. The Supreme Court justices on Tuesday asked the attorney general, who appeared on behalf of Mr. Modi’s government, to submit evidence substantiating those claims. Read more.

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