Farmers Protest: MPs From 3 Countries Show Support, Slam Modi Govt
“Violence perpetrated by Indian government against farmers peacefully protesting is appalling,” said Jagmeet Singh
The protest by farmers against the Narendra Modi government's new farm laws have now received the support of a number of politicians outside India as well. A number of leaders from United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States expressed their solidarity with farmers and criticised the Modi government’s handling of the protests.
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi - Labour MP
Labour MP from Slough and Shadow Rail Minister Tanmanjeet Singh 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."
John McDonnell - Labour MP
Quote tweeting Dhesi, another Labour MP, John McDonnell from Hayes and Harlington, wrote "I agree with @TanDhesi. This sort of oppressive behaviour against peaceful protesters is unacceptable and tarnishes the reputation of India".
Preet Kaur Gill - Labour MP
Labour MP from Birmingham Edgbaston and Shadow Secretary for International Development Preet Kaur Gill tweeted, "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."
Quote tweeting a story by The Quint, she wrote, "This is no way to treat citizens who are peacefully protesting over the controversial Farmers Bill in India".
In Canada, the support has come mainly from the the New Democratic Party led by Jagmeet Singh.
Jagmeet Singh - Leader, New Democratic Party
"The violence perpetrated by the Indian govt against farmers peacefully protesting is appalling. I stand in solidarity w/ the farmers from Punjab and across India - and, I call on the Indian govt to engage in peaceful dialogue rather than violence."
Jack Harris, MP from St John's East
Harris tweeted: "We are shocked to see the Indian government's suppression of farmers protesting new laws which will endanger their livelihood. Instead of using water cannons and tear gas, the Indian government needs to engage in open dialogue with farmers".
Andrea Horwath - Leader of Opposition Ontario
Leader of Opposition in the Ontario Assembly, Andrea Horwath tweeted:
“#IStandWithFarmers in India who are protesting peacefully, as well as their loved ones here in Ontario, who are watching the violent crackdown in horror. Everyone deserves to be able to exercise their democratic rights without fear of state-sanctioned violence.”
Gurratan Singh - MPP, Brampton East
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".
Kevin Yarde - MPP, Brampton North
Kevin Yarde, Member of provincial parliament from Brampton North tweeted:
"Treatment of #PunjabFarmers is terrible. They are protesting bills that will impact the lives of so many. Farmers are the backbone of the Punjab they deserve to be treated with dignity. Indian government needs to engage in dialogue with farmers #IStandWithFarmers #BramptonNorth.”
Sara Singh - MPP, Brampton Centre
MPP from Brampton Centre Sara Singh tweeted: As the granddaughter of a farmer from Punjab, #IStandWithFarmers as they fight to protect their livelihoods & protest harmful legislation.These scenes are deeply concerning.Everyone deserves to be able to exercise their democratic rights without fear of state-sanctioned violence.
In Austrialia, it was Rob Mitchell, Labour MP from McEwen in Victoria, who spoke in the country’s Parliament in support of Punjabi farmers. He said:
"I join many in our community who are disturbed at the treatment of Punjabi farmers in India and those who fear for their safety while peacefully protesting. I urge the Indian government to show restraint while dealing with protesters."
In the US, so far, the response has been comparatively muted. The only one to openly come out is lawyer and Republican Party official Harmeet K Dhillon.
She wrote this on Twitter:
“As the Punjab-born descendant of farmers, my heart breaks to see Punjabi farmers assaulted for protesting Indian govt'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.
And for the peanut gallery, I have relatives who farm the land in Punjab. I'm confident they know what's best for them and don't need to be told that by central government bean-counters. At a minimum, in the vaunted democracy of India, they have a right to protest & be heard.”
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 Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi have criticised the Modi government in the past as well on 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 like Dhesi, Gill, Jagmeet Singh, Gurratan Singh and Sara Singh but also from others like Jack Harris, John McDonnell, Kevin Yarde and Andrea Horwath.
However, almost all the leaders who have spoken out are from Opposition parties within their respective countries. It remains to be seen if this would translate into any international pressure on the Modi government.
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