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India: Farmers to block highways for three hours in nationwide protest June 16

Farmers to block highways for three hours in nationwide protest June 16; possible travel disruptions and violence

16 juin 03h37 UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 16/6/2017, 12h00 until 16/6/2017, 11h59 (Asia/Karachi). COUNTRY/REGION India

Event

On Friday, June 16, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, a group of 62 farmers’ unions, is planning to blockade national highways from 12:00 to 15:00 (local time). The blockade is in support of ongoing farmers' protests in Madhya Pradesh. The group is also calling for the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, to resign. Travel disruptions and violence are possible.

Authorities have deployed additional security personnel in Ambala, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Hisar, Jind, Rohtak, Sirsa and Sonipat districts in the state of Haryana where blockades are likely to occur, as well as in Sri Ganganagar district in the state of Rajasthan state, and Sangrur and Ferozepur districts in the state of Punjab.

Context

The government of India deployed 1000 paramilitary troops in the Mandsaur region of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, June 8, to quell growing riots over the deaths of five protesting farmers who were confirmed to have been shot dead by police on Tuesday, June 6. A curfew was imposed and internet and mobile phone services were reportedly suspended in the region after rioters set buses and trucks on fire; police arrested 62 farmers during the riots. The protests in the region began after farmers in Uttar Pradesh had their debts canceled by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Farmers in Madhya Pradesh and other states are calling for a similar debt waiver and price controls for their produce.

Farmers in the western state of Maharashtra temporarily halted a protest movement on Sunday, June 11, after the state government promised to address their demands, namely to waive all farm loans. However, if no concrete action is taken by July 25, Maharashtra farmers have vowed to resume protests.

Around 66 percent of India's population is connected to the farming industry, yet only about 14 percent of total gross domestic product comes from the farming sector.

Advice

Individuals in India are advised to monitor the situation and avoid all demonstrations.

As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against nonessential travel to the west of Jammu and Kashmir states and against all travel to the border region with Pakistan (direct vicinity of the Line of Control) due to the high threat of terrorism.

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