US Lawmaker Stands w/ Famers in Congressional Record

Several US lawmakers have expressed their support for the farmers protest.

Several US lawmakers have expressed their support for the farmers protest. Among them is Representative Andy Levin from Michigan's 9th district. On December 24th Rep. Levin filed a statement into the Congressional Record calling on the Indian government to respect the right to peaceful protest: 

Mr. LEVIN of Michigan. Madam Speaker, I rise to condemn violence against Indians who are peacefully protesting laws they believe are unjust and stand with these peaceful protesters as they exercise a right that is fundamental in any functioning democracy. 

Since last month, Indian farmers have protested new, hastily-passed, agriculture laws that could weaken traditional markets where some agricultural good are guaranteed a minimum price. As a longtime union organizer, I support these farmers, whose hard work has earned Punjab's moniker as "India's bread basket." I have also been inspired by the solidarity demonstrated by diaspora communities from Cincinnati, to Melbourne, to Silicon Valley, to Canton Township, Michigan, just outside my district. One Michigander with family in India, Amrinder Grewal, told the Detroit News that these new laws were "ruining their lives." 

I have also been heartened watching democracy in actin in India and the popular support this movement is garnering throughout the nation and the global Indian diaspora. While I believe the Indian government should have consulted meaningfully with farmers before passing these laws, I welcome their efforts to engage with the protesters to ensure that legislation that affects these communities reflects their input and interests as well. At the same time, I'm concerned by reports that the Indian government has responded to the protestors with the heavy hand. 

The BBC reported this month that protesters arrived in Delhi to find that "tens of thousands of police and paramilitary troops were deployed to halt their march" and "in several places, police fired tear gas shells and used water cannons to try to beat them back." As winter sets in, the situation has grown more dire: almost 30 protesters have died, some succumbing to the freezing cold. 

On behalf of the constituents who represent the vibrant Indian diaspora community and have rallied in support of these farmers, I call on the Indian government to respect the vital right to peaceful protest and to engage in good-faith talks to ensure farmers' livelihoods are preserved.

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