fr24news– Indian police stepped up security around the camps on Saturday where farmers protested new farm reform laws, as thousands more arrived to join the countryside.
Authorities have cut internet links to most camps where tens of thousands of farmers have been based since November as they call for the laws to be repealed.
Tensions have increased since a mass tractor rally on Tuesday turned into a rampage in Delhi where clashes between farmers and security forces left one dead and hundreds injured.
At least 10,000 new protesters have arrived since Thursday to bolster the campaign, observers said.
In the camps, many farmers held a one-day fast on Saturday – the 73rd anniversary of the assassination of pro-independence leader Mahatma Gandhi – in an attempt to show their tactics are peaceful.
But outside, in addition to the internet shutdown, police blocked a main road leading to Ghazipur camp on the outskirts of Delhi.
Additional security forces were deployed after clashes erupted between farmers and campaign opponents on Friday.
Some local groups say they want the protesters to return home, but farmer leaders insist they will stay. There have been accusations that right-wing activists manipulated the counter-protests.
The new laws allow farmers to sell their produce on the open market after decades of selling to public bodies.
Farmers say the changes will mean conglomerates take over the agricultural industry, which employs two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.
The government says the changes will improve efficiency and rural incomes.