Indian Prime Minister Modi backs down on farming laws after protests

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday backed down on proposed agriculture laws after months of protests from farmers. 

Modi said in a televised announcement the government would be dropping three controversial agriculture laws in a rare move from the prime minister, who is not known to change his stance even in the face of harsh criticism, The Associated Press reported

“While apologizing to the nation, I want to say with a sincere and pure heart that maybe something was lacking in our efforts that we could not explain the truth to some of our farmer brothers,” Modi said in his speech. 

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Farmers have been protesting for months against the laws they say would force them to compete with corporations and lower the price of crops. 

The concession from Modi comes as high-stakes elections are approaching in 2022 that will determine if Modi’s party stays in power. Farmers make up a substantial voting bloc in India, according to the AP. 

The clashes between authorities and farmers over the past months have sometimes been deadly, with many farmers and officials dying during demonstrations from violence, COVID-19 or suicide. 

Farmers groups in the country celebrated Modi’s speech as a “huge victory,” according to CNN, but say protests won’t stop until the December winter session, when lawmakers will completely revoke the proposed laws.