India cuts Internet, farmers start hunger strike

Hundreds of Indian farmers gathered in New Delhi on Saturday (January 30) to begin a one-day hunger strike.

Authorities have blocked mobile internet services in several areas around the capital, after a week of violent clashes.

The farmers are angry about new agricultural laws that they say benefit large private food buyers at the expense of producers.

Earlier this week, a planned tractor parade on the Republic Day anniversary turned violent.

When some protesters broke away, tore down barricades and clashed with police, who used tear gas to try and restrain them.

One person died and hundreds were wounded.

Farm leaders said today's hunger strike was designed to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi and would show Indians that the demonstrations were non-violent.

“We will not hide behind the force of violence. Until the three laws are taken back, we are not moving from here."

Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped at protest sites on the outskirts of the capital for more than two months.

India's interior ministry said on Saturday that internet services at three locations had been suspended until Sunday night to "maintain public safety."

Video Transcript

- Hundreds of Indian farmers gathered in New Delhi on Saturday to begin a one day hunger strike. Authorities have blocked mobile internet services in several areas around the capital after a week of violent clashes. The farmers are angry about new agricultural laws that they say benefit large private food buyers at the expense of producers.

Earlier this week, a planned tractor parade on the Republic Day anniversary turned violent when some protesters broke away, tore down barricades, and clashed with police who used tear gas to try and restrain them. One person died, and hundreds were wounded. Farm leaders said today's hunger strike was designed to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi and would show Indians that the demonstrations were nonviolent.

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: We will not hide behind the force of violence. Until the three laws are taken back, we are not moving from here.

- Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped at protest sites on the outskirts of the capital for more than two months. India's interior ministry said on Saturday that internet services at three locations had been suspended until Sunday night to maintain public safety.