A group of seven influential US lawmakers, including Indo-American Congressman Pramila Jayapal, has written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him and his Indian counterpart to bring up the issue of the farmers’ protest in India.
India has called “ill-informed” and “unjustified” statements by foreign leaders and politicians about farmers’ protests, claiming that the matter concerns the internal affairs of a democratic country.
“We have seen some ill-informed comments … regarding farmers in India. Such comments are not justified, especially when they concern the internal affairs of a democratic country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said earlier this month.
This is an issue of particular concern to Sikh Americans associated with Punjab, although it also affects Indian Americans in other Indian states, the lawmaker said in its December 23 letter to Pompeo.
“Many Indian Americans are directly affected because they have family members and ancestral land in Punjab and are concerned about the welfare of their families in India. Given this grave situation, we urge you to speak to your Indian counterpart about the United States strengthen states’ commitment to freedom of speech abroad, “they said.
In their letter, lawmakers said that as a nation familiar with political protests, the US can advise India during its current period of social unrest.
“As national lawmakers, we respect the right of the Indian government to determine national policy in accordance with applicable laws. We also recognize the rights of those in India and abroad who are currently peacefully protesting the agricultural laws that many Indian farmers consider look at them. ” an attack on their economic security, “said the legislature.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting on various borders in Delhi since November 26, demanding the repeal of three farm laws passed in September.
These farmers, who call these laws “anti-farmers”, claim that the newly enacted laws will pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system and leave them at the “grace” of big companies.
However, the government has claimed that the new laws will provide better opportunities for farmers and usher in new technologies in agriculture. There were several rounds of talks between representatives of the demonstrators and the Indian government, but the traffic jam continues.
In addition to Jayapal, the letter was signed by Congressmen Donald Norcross, Brendan F. Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mary Gay Scanlon, Debbie Dingell, and David Trone.
In the past few weeks, more than a dozen US Congressmen have voiced their concern 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, in which he expressed his solidarity with the demonstrators and defended their right to peaceful protest.
Democratic American lawmaker David Trone on Tuesday called on the Indian government to provide security to the protesting farmers and welcomed recent offers of dialogue and a proposal from the Indian Supreme Court to set up mediation.