‘ Kaale kanoon ko wapas lo, wapas lo, wapas lo’ [‘Take back the dark laws, take them back, take them back!’]. The chants resound at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai the evening before Republic Day.
At the maidan are tens of thousands of protestors at a sit-in organised by the Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha. They have come from 21 districts of Maharashtra after marching for roughly 180 kilometres over two days from Nashik, in solidarity with farmers at the borders of Delhi.
For over two months, lakhs of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been staging protests at various sites at the gates of Delhi. They have been protesting against three farm laws that the central government first issued as ordinances on June 5, 2020, then introduced as farm bills in Parliament on September 14 and hastened to become Acts by the 20th of that month.
The laws the farmers are protesting against are the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 ; the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 ; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 . The laws have also been criticised as affecting every Indian as they disable the right to legal recourse of all citizens, undermining Article 32 of the Constitution of India.
These are images from this two-day protest meeting at Azad Maidan on January 24 and 25: