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24 Nov 2021

International Trade Union Confederation

India: Farmers unions praised for mobilising 'mass movement' against repealed farm laws

"Farm laws: Indian unions say victory part of wider social movement", 24 November 2021

On 19 November, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced the repeal of the laws after a year of protests with thousands of farmers camped on the edge of Delhi. It is thought that nearly 700 farmers have died from heat, cold and COVID-19.

In a statement, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) said: “Congratulations to the farmers unions. The ongoing historical struggle … has taken the shape of a mass movement, with extended solidarity from trade unions, other like-minded organisations and the general public. This success is an inspiration for others.”

Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, general secretary of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) trade union federation, said: “Truth, nonviolence and democracy have won over arrogance. Hats off to Sanyukta Kissan Morcha [farmers unions’ coalition]. Its matured, experienced leadership, its tremendous organising capability and, above all, rock-hard unity and patience have made the farmers’ movement a historic one.”

However, Harbhajan Singh Sidhu warned that the announcement may be a stunt aimed at forthcoming assembly elections, but added: “It won’t work. All sections of society are facing the brunt of the anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people policies of the present government. The need is to maintain the worker-farmer unity. It is high time for us all to use our right to vote … to prove it is the people not the corporate offices that are supreme in democracy.”...