New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation Friday announced that his government will repeal all three contentious farm laws it passed last year. The farm laws had sparked massive protests, with thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, sitting on the borders of the national capital for nearly a year.
While announcing the repeal, PM Modi also appealed to protesting farmers to return to their homes. He also said his government will set up a committee to address all issues adversely impacting farmers. The panel is to include scientists, farmer groups, state and central officials.
ThePrint traces the journey of the farm laws and the protests since their enactment in September 2020.
5 June 2020: The Modi government promulgates three new farm bills — Farmer’s (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
14 June onwards: Sporadic protests erupt in various parts of Punjab against the three new farm laws.
14 September: Ordinance is brought to Parliament.
17 September: Lok Sabha passes the bills, following which, ally Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigns as minister in Modi cabinet.
20 September: Rajya Sabha passes the bills through a voice vote amid a huge ruckus.
24 September: Punjab farmers start a “rail roko” agitation for three days.
25 September: All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation for farmers, calls for street protests across India against the three proposed laws.
26 September: The Shiromani Akali Dal withdraws support to the BJP-led NDA government.
27 September: President Ram Nath Kovind gives his assent to the legislation, after which they are notified in the Gazette of India and become laws.
3 November: Farmer unions in Punjab and Haryana call for a nationwide road blockade.
25 November: Farmer unions in Punjab and Haryana call for ‘Delhi chalo‘ movement. Delhi Police deny them permission to enter the city, citing Covid-19 protocols.
26 November: Large groups of farmers from Punjab and Haryana march towards the national capital to protest the laws, face water cannons from law enforcement agencies at various places. The Delhi Police later allows them to enter the Nirankari ground in the northern part of the city.
27 November: Farmers reach various borders of Delhi and gherao the city, setting up encampments.
28 November: Home Minister Amit Shah offers talks, on the condition that the farmers vacate Delhi’s borders and move to a designated protest site in Burari. Farmers reject the offer, demand that they be allowed to protest at Jantar Mantar.
29 November: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Mann ki Baat address, says all political parties had been making promises to the farmers but it was his government that fulfilled them.
3-8 December: Several rounds of talks are held between the government and farmers, but there’s no headway. Farmers call for a Bharat bandh.
9 December: Farmer leaders reject the Modi government’s proposal to amend the three contentious laws and announce they will further intensify the agitation. Leaders of farmer unions boycott services offered by industrialists Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani, saying the new farm laws favour large corporations.
11 December: Bharatiya Kisan Union moves the Supreme Court against the three farm laws.
13 December: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleges that the ‘tukde tukde gang’ is behind the farmer protests, while stating that the government is open to talks.
16 December: Supreme Court states it may constitute a panel with representatives of the government and farmer unions to end the deadlock. It suggests that the central government put the new farm laws on hold.
30 December 2020- 4 January 2021: Multiple rounds of talks between farmers and government remain inconclusive.
2 January 2021: Farmers announce a tractor rally at Delhi’s Ring Road on Republic Day.
4 January: Reliance Industries says it will never enter contract farming.
11 January: Supreme Court pulls up the central government for its handling of the farmer protest.
12 January: Supreme Court puts the implementation of the three farm laws on hold and sets up a four-member committee with a two-month deadline to evaluate any changes to the laws.
20 January: In a fresh round of talks, the government proposes to suspend the three farm laws for a year and a half and set up a joint committee to discuss the legislation. Farmers reject the proposal and continue their demand for a complete rollback.
24 January: The Delhi Police allows farmers to hold a tractor rally in the national capital to mark the completion of two months of their protest. The permission is limited to a fixed route through the city.
26 January: Farmer tractor rally in Delhi sparks chaos and violence after several protesters change their route. Police resort to teargas shelling and lathi charge. At Red Fort, some protesters climb poles and walls and hoist the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag). One protester dies in the chaos. The leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of the protesting farm unions, distances itself from the violence and claims “anti-social elements” infiltrated the rally.
27 January: Delhi Police file 22 FIRs against farmer leader Rakesh Tikait and others in connection to the violence on Republic Day.
28 January: SKM calls off its march to Parliament on 1 February. A couple of farm unions end their protest and dissociate themselves from the agitation. Tensions rise at Delhi’s Ghazipur border after the administration in neighbouring UP’s Ghaziabad district issues orders for protesting farmers to vacate the site by night. Rakesh Tikait and his supporters refuse to budge.
4 February: Pop icon Rihanna, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and lawyer-author Meena Harris, niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, speak out in favour of the farmer protests.
5 February: The cyber-crime cell of the Delhi Police registers an FIR on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting hatred against the creators of what it claims is a ‘toolkit’ on farmer protests, which was shared by Greta Thunberg.
9 February: Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sindhu, named as an accused in the Republic Day violence case, is arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell.
14 February: Delhi Police arrest 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi for allegedly “editing” the toolkit shared by Thunberg.
5 March: The Punjab Assembly passes a resolution, seeking the unconditional withdrawal of the farm laws in the interest of the farmers and Punjab, and to continue with the existing system of MSP-based government procurement of foodgrains.
6 March: Farmers’ protest at Delhi’s borders completes 100 days.
15 April: Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to resume talks with protesting farmers.
27 May: The farmers’ protest hits the six-month mark, they observe ‘black day’.
5 June: Farmers observe Sampoorn Krantikari Diwas to mark the first year of the promulgation of the farm laws.
July: Farmers start a parallel “Monsoon Session”, called Kisan Sansad, near Parliament House.
7 August: Leaders of 14 opposition parties meet at Parliament House and decide to visit the Kisan Sansad at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
28 August: The Haryana Police violently cracks down on farmers in Karnal, leaving several injured in a lathi charge at a BJP meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Ayush Sinha, a 2018-batch IAS officer, is caught on camera instructing policemen to assault the farmers and not let anyone breach the security cordon without a “broken head”.
5 September: With months to go for the UP elections, farmers hold a kisan mahapanchayat at the home turf of farm leader Rakesh Tikait in Muzaffarnagar.
17 September: Farmer unions hold Bharat Bandh to protest one year of the passage of the laws.
3 October: A convoy of three vehicles, including one allegedly owned by Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, mow down a group of protesting farmers, killing four of them at Lakhimpur Kheri in UP. In the violence that follows, two BJP workers, a driver of one of the vehicles, and a journalist are also killed.
9 October: Ashish Mishra is arrested for the incident.
22 October: Supreme Court makes it clear that protesters cannot block public roads indefinitely, while saying it is not against people’s right to protest even on matters that are sub judice.
29 October: Delhi Police start removing barricades and other obstacles at various borders of Delhi where farmers have been protesting.
19 November: PM Modi, in his address to the nation, vows to repeal the three contentious farms in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)