A group of seven influential US lawmakers, including Indian-American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal, wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to raise the issue of farmers’ protest in India with his Indian counterpart.
India has called the statements of foreign leaders and politicians on peasant protests “ill-informed” and “unjustified”, saying that the issue concerns the internal affairs of a democratic country.
“We have seen some misinformed comments … related to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when they relate to the internal affairs of a democratic country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said earlier this month. .
This is a matter of particular concern for Punjab-related Sikh Americans, although it also has a heavy impact on American Indians belonging to other Indian states, lawmakers said in their December 23 letter to Pompeo.
“Many American Indians are directly affected as they have family and ancestral lands in Punjab and are concerned about the welfare of their families in India. In view of this dire situation, we encourage you to contact your Indian counterpart to strengthen the United States. L states’ commitment to political freedom of speech abroad, “they said.
In their letter, lawmakers said that the US as a nation familiar with political protests can offer advice to India during its current period of social unrest.
“As national legislators, we respect the right of the Indian government to determine national policy, in accordance with applicable law. We also recognize the rights of those in India and abroad who are currently peacefully protesting against agricultural laws that many farmers Indians regard it as an attack on their economic security, “lawmakers said.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have protested across Delhi’s borders since November 26, calling for the repeal of three agricultural laws enacted in September.
Dubbing these laws as “anti-farmer”, these farmers claim that the new legislation enacted would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of large corporations.
However, the government has argued that the new laws will offer farmers better opportunities and introduce new technologies to agriculture. There have been several rounds of talks between the protesters’ representatives and the Indian government, but the logjam continues.
In addition to Jayapal, the letter was signed by members of Congress Donald Norcross, Brendan F Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mary Gay Scanlon, Debbie Dingell and David Trone.
In recent weeks, more than a dozen members of the United States Congress have voiced their concerns over the ongoing protest by farmers in India.
Earlier this month, Congressman John Garamendi, co-chair of the American Sikh Caucus, along with Congressman Jim Costa and Congressman Shelia Jackson Lee, members of the American Sikh Caucus, sent a letter to the Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, expressing solidarity with the demonstrators and defending their right to peaceful protest.
American Democratic MP David Trone urged the Indian government to provide security to protesting peasants on Tuesday and hailed recent offers of dialogue and a proposal by the Indian Supreme Court to institute mediation.