California Democrats’ resolution backs Indian farmers

Ritu Jha-

The California Democratic Party passed a resolution August 29, asking the Modi government to honor peaceful protests by farmers, release jailed protesters, and follow the direction of the Supreme Court of India to resolve the matter through good faith negotiation.

September 17 marks the one year of enactment of the farm law or the Indian Agriculture Act of 2020, often referred to as the Farm Bills.

The three contentious laws are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. Their passing led to protests from farmers fearing it could kill their business. The bill has garnered international attention, leading to protests, letters, and resolutions in the US in support of the farmers.

The resolution, sponsored by the Sikh Delegates of California and passed unanimously on August 29, supported Indian farmers protesting the laws.

Amar Singh Shergill of the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus, told indica News, “The effort is especially important now, given that over 500,000 people recently protested in Haryana. As the farmers’ protests grows across India, America’s elected officials need to support their goals and right to protest, whether it takes a month or a year to achieve results. The farmers in India are leading the way regarding any negotiations with Modi. Our efforts are to ensure American awareness and to provide support.”

The resolution represents the voice of the largest Democratic Party institution in the United States. In the resolution, the California Democratic Party calls on the Indian government to protects the human rights and livelihoods of all Indians.

The resolution pointed out that human rights organizations around the world have documented violent human rights violations by the Indian police against farmers. It added that protests around the world have condemned actions that threaten the lives and livelihoods of small family farmers.

Sarabjit Kaur Cheema, president of the New Haven School District Board of Trustees, said in a press note. “This resolution is a statement of values that we stand in solidarity with the farmers of India. We may be in the United States, but our hearts are with the protesters in the streets across India.”

Shergill, a California Democratic Party Executive Board member, said, “Let there be no mistake, Democrats in California understand that the Government of India is engaging in a massive campaign of human rights violations and attempting to steal the livelihoods of a nation of farmers. We raise our voices in solidarity with them.”

The Sikh Delegates of California calls on elected officials in California and around the world to advocate on behalf of farmers that have been protesting on the streets near Delhi for over nine months. The group is a coalition of grassroots activists elected to represent their community in the California Democratic Party.

According to IANS, the farmers have been sitting in protest outside the mini secretariat in Karnal in Haryana state for the last four days. They are demanding action against IAS officer Ayush Sinha, the then Karnal sub-divisional magistrate, who was caught on camera telling policemen on August 28 to hit protesting farmers (break heads) if they crossed the line.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner called on Indian authorities and protesters to exercise maximum restraint during the protests, adding that the rights to peaceful assembly and expression should be protected both offline and online.