India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an election rally. File photo
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, India will push on with sweeping agriculture reforms, as he criticised last week's deadly riot in the capital following a long-running protest campaign by farmers.
Protesters that stormed New Delhi's Red Fort had caused "insult" to the country, his first public comments on a months-long farmers' agitation that turned violent last week.
"The country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolor (Indian flag) on the 26th of January in Delhi," Modi said in a radio address on Sunday.
Activists of the SUCI shout slogans as they burn an effigy of PM supporting the ongoing farmers in Siliguri. AFP
Thousands flooded New Delhi on Tuesday, driving tractors from border camps where they have been holding sit-ins since November 26; but the rally turned into a rampage which left one person dead and hundreds of police injured.
A tractor parade on Tuesday's Republic Day turned violent when some protesters deviated from pre-agreed routes, clashing with police and breaking into the historic Red Fort complex in the capital. One died and hundreds were injured.
Modi’s government has insisted that the agriculture sector needs to be modernised, but farmers fear the deregulation laws will place them at the mercy of big corporations that already dominate other industries.
Activists of the SUCI shout slogans before burning an effigy of Indian PM during a protest rally in Siliguri. AFP
In his first public comments on Tuesday's events, Modi stressed that the government remained "committed to modernising agriculture".
"The efforts of the government shall also continue in the future," the Indian leader said in his regular monthly radio address on Sunday.
"On January 26, seeing the insult of our tricolour, the country was very sad," he added.The demonstrators swarmed the 400-year-old World Heritage-listed Red Fort on Tuesday, raising religious and farm union flags, though they did not remove the national flag from the top of the monument.
The protests demanding the repeal of new agricultural laws have grown into a rebellion that is rattling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. On Tuesday, more than 10,000 tractors and thousands more people on foot or horseback tried to advance into the capital,
A mass demonstration by farmers on the outskirts of the Indian capital has exposed just how rapidly democracy has deteriorated in the world’s largest democracy since Prime Minister
The marathon protest by farmers at the Delhi border enters the fifth month this week. An estimated 300,000 farmers, mostly from neighbouring states, had reached the outskirts of the national capital on November 26, 2020, to press their demand
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