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The Indian Farmers’ Protest: A Timeline

Written by Akshita Poddar

Illustrated by Jeia So


For months at stretch, Indian farmers have been taking to the streets to battle India’s three new agriculture laws. And even though it has caught the attention of the world’s news media, the protest’s success rates aren’t nearly what they should be. But what exactly happened? Has it made much of a difference? Here to answer this and more, Perspectoverse’s Akshita Poddar presents, The Indian Farmers’ Protest: A Timeline.


The ongoing protest against the new agriculture bills by Indian farmers started on November 25 last year, when thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana marched towards the national capital, demanding for a complete repeal of the legislations, as part of a “Dilli Chalo” campaign.

WEEK – 1:

Nov. 5: More than 200 farm unions from 22 states organise a nationwide road blockade against new laws introduced by the Modi government that

WEEK – 3:

Nov. 25: After a series of local protests, farmers from Punjab and Haryana decide to move their protests to the capital city. They make a “Delhi Chalo” (let’s go to Delhi) march call.

Nov. 26: The police at Haryana’s Ambala district uses water cannons and tear gas to stop farmers from reaching Delhi.

WEEK – 4:

Nov. 27: Farmers set up camps on the highways on the city’s border, in defiance of the police permission for the protest at a site in Delhi’s Burari.

Nov. 28: Home minister Amit Shah offers to hold talks with the farmers as soon as they vacate Delhi borders and move to the designated protest site in Burari. Rejecting his offer, the protesting farmers demand to hold the protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

Dec. 1: The Modi government holds the first round of talks with leaders of 35 farm unions. The meeting remains inconclusive

Dec. 2: Modi government slams Trudeau’s “unwarranted” comments.

Dec. 3: A marathon eight-hour meeting between the government and farmer union heads ends in a deadlock.

WEEK – 5:

Dec. 4: The protests grab attention for their efficiency and preparedness for the long haul. Many protesters have tractors installed with air conditioners and heaters to brave the weather.

Dec. 5: Trudeau invokes the farmers’ protest again and says he will always “stand up for the right of peaceful protest.”

Dec. 8, 2020: Protesting farmers call for a nationwide shutdown and demand a complete rollback of the new farm laws.

Dec. 9, 2020: Leaders of farmer unions boycott services offered by industrialists Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani saying the new farm laws favour large corporates.

WEEK – 6:

Dec. 11, 2020: Bhartiya Kisan Union, one of the farmer bodies, moves the supreme court against the three farm laws.

Dec. 16, 2020: The apex court suggests that the centre put the new farm laws on hold while putting forward the idea of constituting an impartial and independent committee to end the impasse.

WEEK – 7:

Dec. 21: Farmers hold a one-day hunger strike at protest sites near Delhi borders.

Dec. 22: More than 35 social, political, farmer organisations, and trade and labour unions hold a peaceful protest in Mumbai to show their support.

WEEK – 8:

Dec. 30: Some headway is made in a fresh round of talks between the government and union leaders when the former agrees to drop the penal provisions against farmers in an ordinance relating to stubble burning and to put on hold a proposed electricity amendment law.

WEEK – 9:

Jan. 4: Reliance Industries, owned by Mukesh Ambani, states that it will never enter contract farming.

WEEK – 10:

Jan. 11: The supreme court questions the centre over its handling of the farmers’ protest.

Jan. 12: The supreme court puts on hold the implementation of the three farm laws and sets up a committee to evaluate any changes to the laws. On the same day, Dalit labour activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested by Sonipat police on charges of attempt to murder, rioting, and assault to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty under the Indian Penal Code, among others.

WEEK – 11:

Jan. 15: Another round of talks between the farmers and the government fails to end the deadlock.

Jan. 20: In a fresh round of talks, the Modi government proposes to suspend the three farm laws for one-and-half years. The farmers, however, reject the proposal and continue their demand for a complete rollback of the laws.

WEEK – 12:

Jan. 22: The government hardens its stand and says the next round of talks will be held only when the farmers agree to discuss the suspension proposal.

Jan. 24: 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.

Jan. 26: Violence erupted at the tractor rally as the police tried to fend off the farmers using tear gas, but the farmers reply back by pelting stones and soon things got ugly.

Jan. 27: SKM downplays the withdrawal of the support from the two unions, stating that these organisations were not part of the umbrella body and declares that the protest against the three

Jan. 28: Tensions rose at Delhi’s Ghazipur border after the administration in neighbouring UP’s Ghaziabad district issued orders for protesting farmers to vacate the site by night. By evening, as police in anti-riot gear started spreading out at the site, the protesters camped there and their leaders, including BKU’s Rakesh Tikait, said they would not leave.

WEEK – 13:

February 4, 2021: The government slammed “celebrities and others” for their comments in support of farmer protests, calling them “neither accurate nor responsible”. This came after pop icon Rihanna, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and lawyer-author Meena Harris, niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, spoke out on the farmer protests.

WEEK – 14:

February 5, 2021: The cyber-crime cell of the Delhi Police registered an FIR on charges of “sedition”, “criminal conspiracy” and “promoting hatred” against the creators of a ‘toolkit’ on farmer protests, which was shared by Thunberg. The 18-year-old deleted the original tweet on Wednesday but tweeted a revised toolkit on Wednesday night.

February 6, 2021: Protesting farmers held a nationwide ‘Chakka Jam’, or road blockade, for three hours from 12 noon to 3 pm. While several roads across Punjab and Haryana were blocked during that time, elsewhere the ‘chakka jam’ protest evoked a scattered response.

February 9, 2021: Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sindhu, named an accused in the Republic Day violence case, was arrested by Delhi Police Special Cell on Tuesday morning.

WEEK – 15:

February 14, 2021: The Delhi Police’ arrested 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi for allegedly “editing” the toolkit shared by Thunberg.

February 18, 2021: Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmer unions, called for a nationwide ‘rail roko’ protest. Trains were stopped, cancelled and rerouted in places around the country.

WEEK – 16:

February 23, 2021: 22-year-old activist Disha Ravi was granted bail by a sessions court in Delhi.

February 25, 2021: Dalit labour activist Nodeep Kaur was released from prison after she was granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

WEEK – 17:

March 02, 2021: Party leaders were detained by the Chandigarh Police from Sector 25 as they tried to march towards the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to gherao it on Monday afternoon.

WEEK – 18:

March 05, 2021: The Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed a resolution asking for 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 food grains.

March 06, 2021: Farmers complete 100 days at Delhi’s borders. A host of activities are planned this month to mark the occasion.

The protest has brought about so many incidents from allegations of conspiracies to damaging public and private property. It is believed that the disruptions in supply chains caused by the farmers in many parts of India will have a bearing on the economy over the coming days. Many companies in industrial belts surrounding Delhi faced labour shortages as people struggled to reach production facilities from neighbouring towns. All these protests have been of avail in some states while of no use in others. While some states like Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh decided to counter or amend these newly passed laws, returned the bills or have sat on them refusing to give them assent and sent it to the President. To sum up, the protest has accomplished several things, but not all boxes on the to-do list check out.

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