The Sikh farmers’ protest: what we know.

You’ve seen it on twitter, but why haven’t you seen it on the news? A brief of what’s been happening in India.

Written by: Halima K

To understand the situation completely we’ll have to go back a few decades…probably to before you were even born, yikes!

From the 1970s to the 1980s violence emerged from a national resistance in a demand for equal opportunities for Punjabi Sikhs. This meant tension between Punjabi Sikhs and the rest of India has always been high. Pretty mad to think THOUSANDS have died by just trying to gain equal rights, right?

Photo credit: Sajjad Hussain / AFP — Getty Images

But if this has been going on for so long, why are protests happening now?

Well, new agriculture measures have been put in place, favouring large food corporations and disadvantaging everyday farmers, which Punjabi Sikhs make up 70% of! Indian families regard their agriculture as their ‘livelihood’ having worked in the sector for generations. How can anyone take something so dear to them away?

The intention behind the government’s plan is to weaken the traditional markets where rice and wheat are guaranteed at a minimum price. This means that many farmers may lose business and is causing an uproar amongst Indian nationals as this sector provides 60% of India’s employment. That’s over half of India relying on their crops for income!

Can you imagine putting in years of hard work into growing and harvesting plants only for their benefits to be taken away from you so suddenly?

To bring light to this issue peaceful protests by Indian farmers began on the 9th of August 2020.

Photo credit: AP images

But what has been happening to the protesters?

Despite it being peaceful protests, so far over 160 people have died from this problem.

Shocking that a change in the law can lead to so many deaths, which leads us to question, isn’t the PM meant to protect its country’s people?

Suicide for not being able to provide for families, suffering extreme cold or heart attacks. Barbaric police violence with “badge-less” officers being allowed to fight protestors. As well as elderly farmers being attacked with tear gas whilst dozens of other farmers have suspiciously disappeared ‘without trace’.

Does this sound like a PM who is protecting his people? I don’t think so.

Instead, state-owned media and news outlets have been creating false propaganda in order to grow hatred in Delhi towards the farmers. Internet blackouts and electricity cuts by the government prevented the issue from gaining worldwide publicity.

Knowing the government's tendencies to hide rather than resolve issues, this is far from surprising.

In the next article, I will speak more of the social media and global response to this outrageous situation. But for now, it’s up to you to help spread the news.

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