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The Sikh Coalition News
September 23, 2021
  • Honoring the Farmers’ Protest One Year Later

    September 23, 2021 -- This week marks approximately one year since farmers from the states of Punjab, Haryana, and elsewhere began their demonstrations to oppose three farm laws that worsen the already harsh ecological and economic conditions in which they live.

    Within several weeks of the original demonstrations in their local states, up to one million protestors gathered on the outskirts of Delhi in late November of 2020. The farmers, seeking only to demonstrate peacefully and defend their livelihoods, were met first with dismissal–and then with violence and repression–from the Indian government.

    “As we reflect on one year since the beginning of the farmers’ protest, we express our continued support for the protestors' rights to demonstrate in defense of basic rights and human dignity,” said Satjeet Kaur, Sikh Coalition Executive Director. “We remain inspired by these protestors, who have remained resilient while facing brutality, censorship, and other repressive tactics.”

    One year on, it is important to recognize that the protests have continued. While hundreds of farmers have lost their lives during this period, they continue to raise their voices despite violence, extreme weather, and government sanctioned tactics aimed at silencing their right to protest. Just last month, a Haryana official was caught on camera telling police to “crack [protestor’s] heads.”

    The Sikh Coalition joins Sikhs across the United States and around the world in solidarity with these farmers and protestors. Accordingly, earlier this year, our organization undertook several advocacy approaches to raising awareness and spurring action on this issue. We mobilized thousands of community members to send almost 20,000 messages to their members of Congress about this issue, sent 6 letters from our organization to U.S. government leaders on the subject, fought for a congressional resolution to express support for the farmers, facilitated and amplified letters from more than 15 members of Congress to the executive branch and the Indian Ambassador, provided draft resolution language for sangat members to approach their state and local governments, enlisted press freedom organizations to speak out about detained journalists and activists, contacted social media companies about censorship and internet blackouts by the Indian government, bolstered allied organizations’ efforts to raise awareness, fielded national and international media requests, and provided media support to sangats organizing local protests and rallies.

    “From Punjab to here in the United States, the Sikh community continues to demonstrate our strength when we come together to mobilize and organize,” continued Kaur. “We encourage you to continue paying attention and staying outspoken on all issues of civic engagement--especially the farmers’ most basic right to participate in a free and open society.”

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

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