Supporting Farmers

The Indian government has passed three laws in September 2020 that impact on farmers and those linked to farming.  Those directly affected are of the view that the laws fail to protect farmers from exploitation and to ensure fair prices for their produces.  These laws if implemented could lead to large corporate entities taking advantage of farmers.

As the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill became law, they triggered widespread farmers’ protests across the country despite the coronavirus.

The protests against the government’s agricultural reforms are escalating, especially in Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Western Uttar Pradesh.  The farmers’ concerns are still a powerful factor in national politics and the farmers unions are boycotting political leaders.

Those living abroad like myself with links to family in Punjab where farming is vital are deeply concerned about the impact of these new laws on the livelihoods of those linked to farming.   They believe their families will be devastated if these laws are enforced.  There have already been several protests in Sydney and other parts of the world against the actions of the Indian government.

Punjab is known as “India’s bread-basket” with many of the people of Punjab relying on farming for their existence. About three-quarters of the state’s 30 million-strong population is involved in agriculture.  Therefore, these new laws present the people of Punjab with a massive problem with some describing it as a “death warrant” and protests are expected to continue.

Lately, farmers from different states led by the Punjab have in the last 48 hours taken their protests to Delhi.  As predicted at the virtual lobby on 28 October this has escalated into a mass protest and the Indian authorities are trying to prevent lawful protest.  This is now turning into a serious human rights issue that requires the intervention of foreign governments or there could be serious loss of life.

Further it’s a well-known fact that the current Indian government led by majority BJP party has seen many sectarian violence and rape, mob lynching, suppression of voice, suppression of minorities as a national agenda. There is a gross violation of human rights all over India specifically in many states like Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and even in New Delhi.

— Fateh Foundation has raised these issues on behalf of the Indian community with the various Australian parliamentarians and Indian High Commission in Australia. We urged the members to take these issues with their counterparts on the diplomatic level. The submissions are available with the foundation for records.