"I stand with farmers of the Punjab and other parts of India."
For months now Indian farmers have been on the roads protesting the Indian government’s new agriculture laws passed in September 2020.
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 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.
Thousands of Indians have been signing online petitions to express solidarity and demand justice for the protesting farmers.
Indians living in several nations like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have pledged their support to their brethren from afar.
Amid the protests, several heart-wrenching images of elderly farmers being attacked have gone viral.
The violence fuelled images have tugged at the heartstrings of millions of Indians both at home and abroad.
A number of leaders from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States expressed their solidarity with farmers.
Labour MP Tan Dhesi tweeted: “It takes a special kind of people to feed those ordered to beat and suppress them.
“I stand with farmers of the Punjab and other parts of India.
“Including our family and friends, who are peacefully protesting against the encroaching privatisation of #FarmersBill2020.”
It takes a special kind of people to feed those ordered to beat and suppress them.
I stand with farmers of the #Punjab and other parts of #India, including our family and friends, who are peacefully protesting against the encroaching privatisation of #FarmersBill2020. pic.twitter.com/TFywBgtK9X
— Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (@TanDhesi) November 28, 2020
Another Labour MP, Preet Kaur Gill, said:
“Shocking scenes from Delhi. Farmers are peacefully protesting over controversial bills that will impact their livelihoods.
“Water cannons, and tear gas, are being used to silence them.”
In Canada, the support for Indian farmers came mostly from the New Democratic Party led by Jagmeet Singh.
“The violence perpetrated by the Indian Government against farmers peacefully protesting is appalling.”
“I stand in solidarity with the farmers from Punjab and across India and, I call on the Indian govt to engage in peaceful dialogue rather than violence.”
Gurratan Singh, who represents Brampton East in the Ontario provincial parliament even spoke about the farmers’ protest in the House.
“Farmers are under attack in India… That’s why I’m asking this house to stand with farmers against these unjust laws by the Indian government.”
The Indian govt's use of water cannons and tear gas on farmers protesting mass privatization of the agricultural sector and unjust reform of farming laws is appalling. They deserve respect for feeding the nation instead of being subjected to state brutality. #ISTANDWITHFARMERS pic.twitter.com/XPi2uGjFrt
— Gurratan Singh (@GurratanSingh) November 27, 2020
From the United States, the response has been comparatively muted.
The only one to openly come out is lawyer and Republican Party official Harmeet K Dhillon.
She took to Twitter to post:
As the Punjab-born descendant of farmers, my heart breaks to see Punjabi farmers assaulted for protesting Indian gov't's pro-big-corporation farm bill that will destroy their farms, way of life, and culture. Hear them, meet with them, & compromise, P.M. Modi. #IStandWithFarmers! https://t.co/2JFYu1g3Wy
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) November 30, 2020
The support of these leaders is the result of a great deal of advocacy done by activist groups in these countries in support of the protests in India.
Leaders like Jagmeet Singh and Tan Dhesi have criticised the Modi government in the past as well as issues like Kashmir and violence against minorities.
It is important to note that the support for farmers and criticism of the Modi government’s handling of the protests, hasn’t just come from politicians of Punjabi origin.
Indian farmers have also been supported by others like Jack Harris, John McDonnell, Kevin Yarde and Andrea Horwath.