International

Indian Diaspora Groups Submit Memorandum to Indian Embassies Globally Demanding Repeal of Unfair Farm Laws

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On January 22, 2021, Indian Diaspora groups across Europe submitted a common memorandum to Indian embassies in their respective countries of residence. The groups include Indian Alliance Paris and The Liberal Indians - France, Indian Solidarity Finland, Indian Solidarity Sweden, Indian Resistance Network Norway, Collective Against Violation and Abuse of Civil and Human rights (CAVACH) and India Solidarity Germany, The Crescent Hub Kuwait, EU Liberal Indians Amsterdam Chapter and The London Story The Netherlands, Scottish Indians for Justice Scotland, Canadians Against Oppression & Persecution (CAOP), Voices Against Fascism in India and The Progressive India Collective, USA, International Network of Democratic Indians Abroad (INDIA) UK, New Zealanders United To Save The Indian Constitution, the European International Solidarity for Academic Freedom In India (InSAF), and The Humanism Project, Australia.

Indian farmers have been protesting since the three agriculture laws (the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020) were passed hurriedly in August 2020 without holding consultations with the farmers groups. The local farmers’ opposition protests moved to the Capital Region, Delhi, around November 26, 2020 for a nationwide general strike but were met with frequent provocation by police: Highways were dug out to prevent the farmers’ movement to Delhi, and protestors were fired at with water cannons and tear gas. Despite being treated badly and battling the cold weather in Delhi, farmer groups including aged persons and families with children are still staying at the Delhi border.

In the memorandum to Indian embassies, the Indian Diaspora extended its solidarity to the farmers in their struggle for justice. They expressed distress about the corporatisation of agriculture, threat to democracy and the sidestepping of core constitutional mechanisms by the Indian government while passing the above Laws. The Diaspora lamented the prolongation of the negotiations between farmers and elected officials, and assesses that the government's proposals have not been made in good faith.

The memorandums put forward the demands of the farmers:

  • to immediately repeal the three above-mentioned Acts
  • to guarantee a minimum support price for all agricultural produce
  • to implement the findings of the Swaminathan Commission
  • and to convene an exclusive parliamentary session to resolve all outstanding grievances of farmers.

On January 20, 2021, the government agreed to suspend the laws temporarily and focus on consultations, although not taking the step to repeal them entirely. Farmers have declared their intention to hold a peaceful protest outside Delhi on January 26, 2021, India's Republic Day, and are determined to fight these unilateral neoliberal Acts of the government which provide no effective remedy against the deteriorating rights of farmers in India.

In addition to the Indian Diaspora, members of parliament in the United Kingdom, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian members of parliament as well as other political actors worldwide, have criticised the farm laws and raised concerns about the manner in which the government has responded to the protesting farmers.