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American newspaper and TV ads are the new platforms to show solidarity with India’s protesting farmers

REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Fighting the tough fight.
  • Niharika Sharma
By Niharika Sharma

Reporter based in New Delhi.


After Rihanna and Greta Thunberg, India’s protesting farmers have now found support from over 70 activist organisations in the US.

On Feb. 16, a host of human rights, civil activists, and women support groups, took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times to show solidarity with India’s protesting farmers.

“We—farmers, activists, and citizens of the world—stand in solidarity with farmers in India protesting to protect their livelihood,” the ad said. “You have ignited one of the largest protests in human history. From the fields of Punjab to the villages of Kerala, to the streets of New Delhi, your voices echo around the world. Now, we raise our voices in solidarity,” it added.

A picture of a full-page ad in The New York Times in support of the protesting Indian farmers.

The ad was paid for by Justice for Migrant Women, a US-based advocacy group that focuses on strengthening the voices of migrant women around the world.

Calling on the people who champion human rights in the US, the ad sought the support of people around the world to condemn the “abuse against the farmers.”

“Use your voice to call on India to respect the core principles of democracy, including the rights of all people to protest peacefully, demand accountability, and envision a safer, healthier, and more just future for all the people on the planet,” it said.

A screenshot of the published letter including the names of all signatories.

On Feb. 17, Justice for Migrant Women also released a video titled “Solidarity with #IndianFarmers” on its Facebook page.

This isn’t the first time the farm protests got support from groups in the US. On Feb. 9, members of the Sikh community in California aired a crowdfunded commercial to show support to Indian farmers during the sports league championship event, Super Bowl.

The commercial opened with quotes from Martin Luther King Jr, followed by tweets from Rihanna.

This international support comes at a time when the Narendra Modi government has been claiming an “international conspiracy” is being planned to “tarnish India’s image.”

Meanwhile, the government has still not managed to address farmers’ concerns.

Farmers continue to protest at Delhi borders

Thousands of farmers continue to peacefully protest at the borders of Delhi for the third month now.

Several rounds of talks between the farmers and government officials have remained inconclusive.

Following the violence during a farmers’ rally in Delhi on Jan. 26, the authorities have turned the protesting sites around Delhi almost into war zones with heavy security deployment, and iron spikes and barbed wires to stop the movement to and from the sites. Earlier, the government had also suspended internet connectivity around the sites as a mere “precautionary measure.” Internet services have now been resumed but connectivity problems persist.

Unfazed by the challenges, protesting farmers are trying to keep their momentum going.

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