Thousands of people are protesting in India against the new agricultural laws proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2020.
The three laws that were meant to modernize the agricultural industry are in turn dismantling the systems that were already in place, leaving the farmers with uncertainty and anger.
In the past few years, farmers have already struggled to make ends meet and with these new laws in place, it would be even more difficult for them to earn a sustainable income, leaving them at the mercy of big cooperations and an increase in market competition.
Agriculture is the source of livelihood for over 50% of the India’s population of 1.3 billion people, most of whom are from Sikh descendants, present in the States of Punjab and Haryana. The Sikh community has been discriminated on the bases of religion for decades in India and it seems like the new reforms are being put in place to ensure that they continue to remain at the bottom.
They are being labelled as terrorists for standing up against the government and are being faced with hostility from the police. Many have been injured during the chaos created by the police when attacking protesters with tear gas and water cannons, while others being unlawfully arrested. Food and water supplies near the sites have also been shut down with the intent of starving the protesters. Not only that, the government has also cut all the internet access near the sites to create a social media blackout and stop any communication between the protesters and the outside world.
What started as peaceful protests by the New Delhi borders have now become a movement of resilience for many. Farmers that have been there since November have formed a community on the protest site, establishing living tents, small shops, emergency counters, etc. They are showing the government that they are prepared for any obstacles thrown their way and will not budge until the laws are repealed. However, PM Modi has shown no remorse regarding the ongoing situation. He has decided to suspend the proposition for another 18 months with hope that time would tire the protesters.
The government is doing everything in their power to ensure that anyone standing with the farmers are labeled as anti-nationalists. State-owned media and news outlets are instilling hatred for the farmers amongst the locals. And the journalists that are speaking for farmers are being shut down or arrested. In fact, foreign public figures like Rihanna and Greta Thunberg also received backlash for tweeting about the on going protests in India.
At this point, it is extremely essential for us to raise our voice against the unjust faced by the farmers in India. The hope is that from all the international pressure, the government of India will be forced to repeal these laws. That’s why we should do everything in our power to raise awareness about this ongoing rebellion in India.