US Lawyers Write to Biden, Seek Intervention Over Farmers’ Protest

Over 40 South Asian lawyers have written to Biden about various human rights infringements by the Modi government.

Published
India
2 min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden. File photo.
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Over 40 civil and human rights lawyers of South Asian descent have penned a letter to US President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other prominent US leaders, addressing the ongoing farmers’ protests in India. They have expressed grave concerns highlighting that the Narendra Modi-led government has been repressing peaceful dissent by the use of “violence, unlawful detention and censorship”.

The letter, shared by The Wire, called upon US intervention to condemn these actions, asking India to “respect the constitutional rights of protesters”, and to provide “messages and actions of solidarity aligned with the demands of the farmers”.

The letter stated that the farm laws were “rushed through a pandemic without adequate debate or any consultation with key stakeholders, including the farmers, to the benefit of a few corporate interests”, and the “undemocratic process led to a nationwide mobilisation”, which has become India’s largest protest in recent history.

The letter highlighted instances of human rights infringement such as internet shutdowns and suspension of Twitter accounts of those who spoke against the farm laws, arrests of journalists who documented police violence, arrests of activists such as Nodeep Kaur, as well as mass arrests of protesters under the draconian UAPA.

“Police, military, and paramilitary forces have since amassed around the protest sites and erected fortifications with large metal spikes, capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm. These security forces are emboldened by an entrenched culture of impunity,” stated the letter.

The letter expressed that this was a pattern with the current government and cited the treatment by the Centre against CAA NRC protesters. It further said that “the minority communities across India are in peril”.

"The Indian government has pursued a policy of mass deprivation in Jammu and Kashmir, stripping the people of their right to autonomy under the Indian constitution,” the letter added.

“These laws, policies, and practices are rooted in a long history of impunity, failed democratic institutions, and a supremacist ideology – Hindutva nationalism. The BJP and Prime Minister Modi want to create a Hindu state, where Hindus enjoy a privileged status, and minorities, especially Muslims and Dalits, are second-class citizens,” stated the letter.

Asking for Biden’s intervention to denounce the Centre’s actions, the letter urged to form an international body to follow the protests and raise the issue at the United Nations. It stated: “India’s actions violate not only the rights enshrined in its Constitution, but also fundamental international human rights norms, including the rights to life, liberty, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, peaceful assembly and association, and expression and opinion.”

(With inputs from The Wire.)

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