By Aman Gill
Living in Toronto, Canada and witnessing the destruction to the Farmers in India from afar has been disgusting. How does a government lie about democracy? How did this happen? and how can we stop it? all valid questions, so let's dive right in.
India claims to be the world's biggest democracy, but in recent years we have seen bills that target minorities.
For example, the anti-Muslim bill passed in 2019, which denies citizenship to Muslims, and caused attacks on Muslims to skyrocket. Citizenship can't be determined by faith as the Indian constitution states, yet this bill puts migrants into two categories Muslims and non-Muslims.
Gautam Bhatia, a New Delhi lawyer and author says that by dividing alleged migrants into Muslims and non-Muslims, the bill "explicitly and blatantly seeks to enshrine religious discrimination into law, contrary to our long-standing, secular constitutional ethos".
This then led to a surge in Hindu and Muslim Gang violence, killing 11 people days after the bill passed. This logic of them vs. us has dehumanized Muslims in India.
Now, the main targets are the Sikhs, the majority of Punjabi Sikhs are farmers, but 58% of India's population are part of India's agriculture. The farmer's bills, that will allow private buyers to adjust crop prices so robbing farmers of their livelihood and push them into homelessness. There has already been an increase in both suicides and hate crimes towards farmers.
The Problems with the New Bills
The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill
- There is no mandate on written contracts between a company and the farmer, meaning if a company violates any terms of the contract, the farmer has no proof.
- There is no penalty for not having a contract registered for companies.
- There is no standard price for a crop, which means a company can pay whatever price they want to the farmer, including below the regular price of the crop before this bill.
The Essential Commodities Act (Amendment) Bill
- This will allow companies to store as much as they want, to promote hoarding. The average farmer will not be able to compete, as they can't afford to store their crops. Why would companies buy from farmers when companies are hoarding extra crops?
- This bill will remove the government's power to prevent hoarding and price inflation. In this bill, the government can only intervene if the price is 50% over the previous year’s price for non-perishable goods and if the price is 100% over previous years on perishable goods! This just doesn't make any sense.
Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill
- The government is preaching that now farmers are free to sell to anyone they please. But this will destroy the equal playing field with markets and companies, because trade outside of the markets isn't regulated!
- The farmers want their trade to be overseen and regulated by state and local governments, but the farmers are being ignored.
- If anything arises, farmers will need to go to a sub-divisional magistrate court, which the average farmer can't afford.
How can you help?
Support farmers by posting regularly on social media, donations to the cause, and stay informed! This is a lesson of "don't bite the hand that feeds you".
So please, stand with me and many others around the world, let's protect these farmers and teach the Indian government what real democracy looks like.
#nofarmersnofood #farmersprotest #khalsaaid