Indian police have opened tear gas and water cannons on protesting farmers on the outskirts of Indian capital in their effort to stop the farmers from entering the capital. The farmers are protesting due to rising fuel prices and are pressing government to raise the support prices for agricultural produce, waiving farmer loans and also help in payment of sugarcane dues.
The farmers have blocked various highways going to Delhi as they poured around the outskirts of the capital from various northern states. Farmers used tractors to break apart the barricades of the police to crash through their way to the capital. Various farmers under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers Union) reached outer boundaries of the capital on foot, in tractors and also buses. BKU is known to be highly critical of policies of Modi government. The police used tear gas and also plastic bullets on unarmed farmers. 50 farmers were critically injured.
Senior police officials stated that the action was taken to prevent a major law and order situation. India will be holding its next General Elections in 2019 and thus many unions have staged protests to get various offers in exchange for votes during elections.
Farmers who were primarily from Uttar Pradesh, one of the most populous states of India. Most farmers slammed police action and blamed the government has always been in denial mode and have never accepted any farm crisis exists. PM Modi enjoys great popularity in UP as suggested by various surveys although his popularity has had a great setback in the last 4 years due to the policies which have not been able to deliver on the promises of job creation and steep rise in fuel prices.