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India's top court: Protesting farmers can't block roads indefinitely

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By Reuters
India's top court: Protesting farmers can't block roads indefinitely
India's top court: Protesting farmers can't block roads indefinitely   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">NEW</span> <span class="caps">DELHI</span> – India’s Supreme Court said on Thursday farmers are entitled to protest against the government over three new agricultural laws but protesters cannot block a road indefinitely.</p> <p>For 11 months, tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on major highways around the capital New Delhi to oppose the laws, introduced late last year, in the longest-running growers’ protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.</p> <p>“The farmers have the right to protest, but (they) cannot keep the roads blocked indefinitely for that,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said in the Supreme Court ruling.</p> <p>A petitioner had approached the Supreme Court to complain that farmer encampments on the highways that link New Delhi with its neighbouring states are creating problems for motorists.</p> <p>Farmer groups told the court that their protests are confined to a small portion of the highways. They said police have erected a row of barricades around the protest sites, leading to roadblocks.</p> <p>The outcome of Thursday’s hearing was preliminary and the court asked farmer’s groups to submit their response, with a further hearing scheduled for Dec. 7. </p> <p>The government says the new laws will unshackle farmers from having to sell their produce only at regulated wholesale markets and make contract farming easier.</p> <p>Farmers insist that the new laws will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.</p> <p/> </div>