Indian farmers’ protest ad beams in 21 US cities

RITU JHA

Northern California-based Raj Sodhi-Layne, who gained a huge response on running a local TV ad during the Super Bowl on February 3 in support of the ongoing farmers’ agitation in India, has launched another campaign and this time it’s national.

Launched on Tuesday, March 2, the 30-second ad will run until Monday, March 8, on a national CBS and NBC TV stations during the morning and evening news in 21 major cities in the United States — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Washington DC, Denver, Cleveland, Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Portland, St Louis, Raleigh-Durham, Austin, New Orleans, Buffalo, Fresno, and Visalia.

Raj told indica News that the ad was meant to create awareness in America about the farmers’ protest and what is happening in India right now, and cost $149,000 to run.

She said the ad was meant to show “how the humanitarian crisis relates to all,” and that the response had been amazing.

Retired banker Raj Sodhi-Layne, who says the ad is meant to create awareness about what is a human rights issue

I am just a normal person, and what is amazing to me is people are willing to listen to people,” Fresno, California-based Raj told indica News. “The story here, for me on a personal level, is mankind cares about mankind.”

Why 21 cities? She said she wanted to get the message out across the US but that was not possible due to the budget; it costs $900,000.

The Gofundme page she has set up, “Support the Farmers’ Protest: Stand with All Farmers” shows she has raised about $3,900, with a target to raise $165,000.

This protest is the largest in world history and in my lifetime,” Raj has written on the page. “The three laws need to be repealed. As human beings we have the democratic right to peaceful protest.”

There is also ‘a call to action’ page, Standingwithfarmers.com, asking people to contact their local elected officials for their help and to support the protest.

It has become the human rights issue of the moment – a set of laws targeting small and family farms across India has set the table to destroy the livelihoods of literally millions of people in India,” the page says, “The time to stand with them has come. Join us as we Stand with Farmers in India, and across the globe, in this historic moment.”

What if the Indian government does not back down?

I think [then] India loses in the eyes of the world, and it’s the largest democracy,” Raj, who is a retired banker, said. “If over 60 percent of the people are somehow in farm sector, how come you do not listen to them? It seems very odd to me.”

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