The 2-page handout

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A huge protest has taken place in India in what could be the largest demonstration in human history. Tens of thousands of farmers descended on the capital New Delhi to voice concerns about new farming legislation. This number is nothing out of the ordinary for a demo. However, history was made when up to 250 million people from a broad cross-section of the subcontinent joined in a 24-hour general strike. The protestors came from all walks of life to show solidarity with the farmers. The scale of the protest forced the government to meet the protesters face-to-face. The numbers made the government change its tactics somewhat, as marches are usually met with a show of force from the police.

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India's farmers are up in arms about the enactment of three laws to "reform" the country's agriculture industry. The laws represent a radical upheaval of India's agrarian society. Furious farmers are venting their anger on the streets. They are accusing the government of selling out millions of India's agricultural workers for the benefit of big agri-business. They have set up protest camps around Delhi in what looks like a blockade of the city. A farmers' union representative said: "We will block rail tracks if our demands are not met." He said agriculture was too important for governments to play party politics with. Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said he was optimistic about finding a compromise.



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