In the wake of the ongoing protests and agitation, farmers in India are receiving a lot of love and support from all quarters of the world. Indians at home have shown their support in a variety of ways, be it by distributing food to hungry farmers or setting up medical camps at protest sites. The Indian diaspora, however, has not been far behind in expressing its support for the agitating farmers.
Lakhs of Indians living in several nations like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have been signing online petitions to express solidarity and demand justice for the protesting farmers.
The last week saw fierce clashes between farmers and security personnel when hundreds of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh marched to Delhi to demand a repeal of three central farm laws passed by the government of India in September. Alternatively, the farmers have demanded the implementation of a minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
Amid the protests, several heart-wrenching images of elderly farmers being attacked by tear gas shells, water cannons and lathis went viral, tugging at the heartstrings of millions of Indians both at home and abroad.
Addressing the issues, 264,000 petitions have been signed on Change.org, by Indians in countries like UK, US, and Canada. The petitions demand justice for the farmers.
One of the strongest petitions was started by the American Sikh Council, which demands the repeal of the three agricultural bills. “The “The ‘Farmers Law’ is the most ill-advised piece of legislation enacted in September 2020 by the Modi government which was approved without due process,” the petition reads. It further added that “anyone who eats to fill their belly must support this cause as the lives of millions of small farmers is literally at stake and it behooves every right thinking individual to support and sign this petition”. In just two days, the petition has garnered nearly 80,000 signatures.
This is not the only petition by Indian-Americans that has been gaining momentum online. Yet another petition by US-based Kiran Badesha has received 4,000 signatures. “The backbone, sweat and tears of our farmers have fed millions and raised generations of
Indians… We need them, and they need us more than ever, today,” Badesha said.
Solidarity has also come from Indians in Canada, especially Punjabis who form a sizeable chunk of the Indo-Canadian population.
Indian-Canadian Gina Takhar has also launched a petition called ‘Justice for Farmers of India’.
“My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, policemen, and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer,” Takhar writes in her petition which already has over 7,000 signatures.
In wake of growing outrage against the Indian government’s handling of the farmer protests, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday addressed the media and called the situation in India “concerning”. Trudea has been facing a lot of flak from Indians since he expressed solidarity for the farmers. “Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest,” Trudeau said.
While most of the online petitions have been demanding a repeal of the controversial farming reform laws or demanding implementation of MSP for farmers, some even filed petitions to demand the release of Navdeep Singh, son of a farmer who was arrested after he was caught turning off water cannons that the police were using to quell a protest the Delhi-Haryana border on November 25.
The 25-year-old Singh, who became known as face and “icon” of the farmer protests, was later booked under ‘murder charges’ after a video of the Ambala-based son of a farmer turning off the police water cannon went viral. The arrest has since caused outrage among Indians, many have demanded his release.
Such a petition was filed by Chandigarh resident, Shubh Karman who wants Navdeep Singh to be acquitted of all charges.