Police use tear gas against Indian farmers marching to New Delhi to demand guaranteed crop prices

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Indian police yesterda used tear gas and detained some farmers who clashed with them and tried to break barricades blocking their way to New Delhi to demand guaranteed crop prices in a repeat of 2021 protests, when they camped on the capital’s outskirts for more than a year.

Police dropped tear gas canisters on the protesting farmers from a drone at one of the border points in northern Haryana state that leads to New Delhi, where tens of thousands of farmers are headed on tractors and trucks.

Police have sealed multiple entry points into the capital with barriers of giant metal containers, barbed wire, spikes and cement blocks.

The government has banned large gatherings in the capital and suspended internet service in some districts of neighboring Haryana state to prevent communication among the protesters.

The demonstration comes more than two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew controversial agriculture laws that had triggered the earlier protests, in which tens of thousands of farmers camped outside the capital through a harsh winter and a devastating COVID-19 surge.

The farmers are asking for legislation that will guarantee a minimum support price for all farm produce.

The government protects agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices by announcing a minimum purchase price for certain essential crops at the beginning of the sowing season, taking into account the cost of production.

Farmers are also pressing the government to meet its promise to double their income and waive their loans. They say they will protest in New Delhi until their demands are met.

The current march comes just months before a national election in which Modi is widely expected to win a third term.

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