The Algoma Sikh Association conducted a second rally in solidarity with the farmers protest in India and the concerning developments since the beginning of this year. They wanted to raise awareness of political prisoners being held by India such as Nodeep Kaur, 23-year-old labour rights activist who had been arrested on January 12, Ranjit Singh, 22-year-old who was beaten, brutalized, & detained on January 29 while protecting women protesters from state-sponsored goons and draw attention to the hundreds of other missing and arrested farmers.
Around 15 people along with the President of the Algoma Sikh Association took part in the car rally that commenced around 2.30PM at the former Lowe’s parking lot in Sault Ste Marie. The rally was held after consultation with Algoma Public Health and the Sault Ste Marie Police department.
Gurwinder Singh, President, Algoma Sikh Association said, “We want to raise awareness about the farmers plight in India, as well as demand the release of activist Nodeep Kaur whose only crime may be the empowerment and upliftment of women in India. She is currently in police custody for over a month and has been beaten and allegedly been sexually harassed while in police custody. Although, there are no legitimate charges put against her, she is still in jail in world’s ‘largest democracy’. Similar case with Ranjit Singh whose only crime was defending a tent of elderly women protesters from state-sponsored goons. Major tenants of democracy, such as the freedom of press, is being eroded before our very eyes as independent journalists, such as Mandeep Punia, are arrested & assaulted, and peaceful protestors are met with state-sanctioned brutality in the form of tear gas and water cannons and the internet is being shut down. Today we are here in Sault Ste Marie raising awareness about these protests being held not only in India but across the globe.”
These farmers protests have been named as the world’s largest strike and recently many global personalities took to Twitter to support the farmers. These include pop star Rihanna, environmental activist Greta Thunberg, media personality Mia Khalifa and American lawyer, & Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris. Tweets by these figures have triggered a backlash from the Indian government stating that this is India’s “internal matter” and that they should not comment as foreign observers. India has filed legal notice against some of these figures claiming they are a part of a “global conspiracy” to tarnish the “image of India”.
Hundreds of millions of people, including farmers and workers, have been protesting globally to support the Indian farmers. The three laws passed thorough ordinances recently by the Narendra Modi government are being titled as unjust, unfair and anti-national by the protestors. According to the protestors, these laws are considered to benefit multi-millionaire figures such as Ambani and Adani over the millions of farmers who say these three laws will lead to the exploitation of workers, offer no means to address legal concerns and will lead to the loss of their ancestral land. The agriculture industry employs over 60% of India’s workforce & over 80% or those are considered small farmers with less than 2.5 acres of land.
The worldwide protests have been witnessed across UK, USA, Australia, Italy, France, Germany and many more places. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also extended solidarity to the right to peaceful protests.
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