No farmers, no food
I was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley and can say firsthand that agriculture is valued in our community. In India, agricultural workers make up more than half of India’s workforce. Despite this in September 2020, three controversial agricultural laws were rammed through Indian parliament with no discussion or committee meeting, and no discussion with the farmers unions.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers have been peacefully protesting against these three farm bills on the highways surrounding Delhi’s borders since November 2020. These bills loosen rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce. Farmers are concerned these laws will drive down product prices with no safeguards to protect them against corporate takeovers and exploitation.
This has become the largest protest in human history. In November, 250 million people participated in a 24-hour strike across India in opposition to both the farm law reform and proposed changes to labour laws.
These farmers have been met with many obstacles and the Indian government continues to violate their human rights. Indian police have attacked peaceful protestors with tear gas, batons and water canons, cut the Internet, cut food and fresh water supply, unlawfully arrested innocent protestors and their family members, have used extreme measures to stop more farmers from joining the protest and more. Protestors are missing, journalists have been arrested and the Indian government is using extreme measures to incite violence, cause chaos and confusion, and cover-up the truth. Despite all this, protestors remain positive and optimistic.
This affects all of us. Just look in your kitchen, your closet, your heart. I urge our elected officials to show solidarity with farmers and condemn the Indian governments undemocratic response to the protest.