26 Nov: Endorsements for Indian Farmers protest anniversary

Dear Friends,

Please see info about UK events in support of Indian Farmers:

·        26 November demonstration at High Commission of India, London, WC2B 4NA 12-2pm. Contact: 020 7482 2496

·        26 November Birmingham & Sandwell Branch members are demonstrating 2.30pm at 346 Soho Road Handsworth, Shaheed Udham Singh Welfare Centre contact: Bhagwant Singh Mob 07989303961 (Indian Workers Association, IWA)

·        27/28 November Kisan Sleep Out, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 1EF (poster below, www.becomethemovement.co.uk)

·        27 November – 1st January 2022 Samaan Wali Daang – UK-wide tour of a play about the great farmers’ protest. In Punjabi. Organised by IWA (poster below).

Power to the Indian farmers protests
who are winning the repeal of Modi’s hated Farm Laws!

ਭਾਰਤੀ ਕਿਸਾਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਨੂੰ ਤਾਕਤ ਦਿਓ।
 ਮੋਦੀ ਦੇ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਭਰੇ ਖੇਤੀ ਕਾਨੂੰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਰੱਦ
 ਲਈ ਲੜ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ|

Friday 26 November 12-2pm

High Commission of India

India House, Aldwych, London WC2B 4NA

(closest tube Holborn/Temple)

On 19 November, Prime Minister Modi announced he is repealing his hated Farm Laws.  Millions are celebrating this historic victory all over India and internationally. But the farmers movement has said this is only a “partial” victory. Farmers will march in their thousands to the parliament in Delhi when the winter session opens on 29 November to ensure that the laws are officially repealed. They are also pressing for the legally guaranteed Minimum Support Price for all crops for all farmers so no corporation or government department can undercut them, and for the withdrawal of the Electricity Amendments Bill and the Labour Codes. See Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) press statement and demands below.  

SKM is calling on people to: “Reach in large numbers to the morcha sites around Delhi on 26 November 2021… organise state level protest rallies using tractor trollies, bullock carts and other vehicles to state capitals in other states of India; organise solidarity actions like protest sit-ins, sleep-outs, social media actions, issuing of solidarity letters, etc., all over the world.”

Farmers are defeating agribusiness who intended to tighten their grip on how crops are grown, who eats and what is eaten in India and ultimately everywhere. The laws would have given more power to multinationals like BayercropScience and Netafim (the Israeli company which benefits from illegal settlements in Palestine), and Indian corporations like Ambani and Adani who are hand in glove with Modi’s government. 

On 12 November, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food wrote to the Indian government saying: “These laws may interfere with the full enjoyment of the right to food of India’s farmers, especially women as constituting the majority of small scale farmers in the country and all inter-related human rights.”

This heroic movement has prevented millions of people from being starved. We remember and honour the brave farmers and farm workers, women, men and children who have died in this struggle, and all those imprisoned, disabled, beaten, and raped by police and Modi’s thugs. The farmers’ movement is calling for compensation for their families and for the Modi government to pay homage to the 670+ farmers and labourers who died and build a statue to remember them.

Last November, the all India General Strike Against the Farm laws and the Labour Codes brought out over 250 million people across India – factory workers, textile, transport, education and other workers joined with farmers and farm workers in the biggest strike in history. It was a coming together of people across castes, religions and backgrounds against Modi’s repressive regime. Dalit and Adivasi women and girls have been central to the protests. 

At the London support event, we will highlight the farmers demands, as well as the very important and successful natural farming practices led by 700,000 farmers, mostly women in self-help groups, in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere. This farming method has been shown to be effective against climate change by regenerating the soil, greening the land and stopping the destruction of the natural world, while increasing the nutrition of the food and the income of the farmers. (See 2min UN video here). 

The victory of the Indian farmers is crucial to subsistence farmers everywhere, often women, who feed families and communities and have been opposing government-backed takeovers of agriculture by multinationals for the industrialised farming of cash crops. (See Africa Responds to the UN Food System Summit.)

SKM say: “What we are seeing today is the story of marginalisation and impoverishment of farmers, similar in many countries of the world, with corporate takeover of our food and farming systems. What the Indian farmers are doing is churning up a debate about future directions of our food and farming systems all over the country, to protect ourselves and our planet . . . We want incentives and support to be provided to our farmers for them to shift to sustainable farming practices without large scale stubble burning, etc., and for shifting out of the current monocultures.”

Victory to the farmers!

Called by: Global Women’s Strike, Indian Workers Association GB, Women of Colour GWS

Endorsers so far: All African Women’s Group (UK); Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (UK); Assembly of the Poor (Thailand); Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (UK); Butiama Cultural Tourism Enterprise; Campaign for Public Policy on Mineral Resources (Thailand); Chemical Workers Union Alliance of Thailand (Thailand); Community Resource Centre (UK); Community Rights Protection Association of Khao Khuha – opposing limestone mining, Songkhla Province (Thailand); Community Women Human Rights Defenders Collective (Thailand); Decolonise Queen Mary University of London (UK); Empower Foundation (Thailand); Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú-Callao (Peru); Duay Jai Rak Group – Lahu Indigenous group (Thailand); Ecological and Cultural Study Group (Thailand); Editions Démocrite; English Collective of Prostitutes (UK); Federación Nacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores del Hogar Perú (Peru); Federación Nacional de Trabajadores de las Universidades del Perú (Peru); Haiti Action Committee (USA); Global Justice Bloc (UK); Global Women Against Deportations (UK); Global Women’s Strike (Ireland); Global Women’s Strike (USA); Group Rak Wanonniwat District – against potash exploration and drilling, Sakon Nakhon province (Thailand); House of Shango (UK); Huelga Mundial de Mujeres (Peru); International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (UK); International IJAN; International Wages for Housework Campaign; Khao Lao Yai-Pha Chan Dai Community Forest Conservation Group, Dong Ma Fai (Thailand); Khon Rak Baan Kerd Group – six villages opposing gold mining, Loei Province (Thailand); Lao Hai Ngam Group Refusing Mining, Kalasin Province (Thailand); LILAK – Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights (The Philippines); Khon Rak Baan Kerd Bamnet Narong Conservation Group – opposing potash mines & coal power plants, Chaiyaphum Province (Thailand); Legal Action for Women (UK); London Mexico Solidarity (UK); Malaysians Against Death Penalty & Torture (Malaysia); Marikana [S. Africa] Solidarity Campaign (UK); members of York University Faculty Association Indigenous Caucus, Toronto (Canada); Milk of Human Kindness – breastfeeding group (UK); Naked Punch (Pakistan); National Family Farm Coalition (USA); National Lawyers Guild – International Committee (USA); National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco Bay Area (USA); National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Black Solidarity Committee (UK); Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (Malaysia); No Borders (UK); Núcleo Anticapitalista en Movimiento (Peru); Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (Palestine); Payday men’s network (UK/US); Phulbari Solidarity Campaign (Bangladesh); Queen Mary University of London Rent Strike (UK); Queer Strike (UK/US); Rak Banhang Group – opposing lignite mining, Lampang Province (Thailand); Rak Lam Kho Hong Group – opposing potash mining, Nakhon Ratchasima Province (Thailand); Rak Nam Sap Kham Pa Lai – opposing sandstone mining, Mukdahan Province (Thailand); Red Square Movement (UK); Sindicato de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores del Hogar de la Provincia de Trujillo (Peru); Single Mothers’ Self-Defence (UK); South Asia Solidarity (UK); RESISTers’ DIALOGUE; South Asian Faculty at York University, Toronto (Canada); Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand (Thailand); Thai Network of People Who Own Mineral Resources (Thailand); US PROStitutes Collective (USA); WinVisible, women with visible and invisible disabilities (UK/US); Women Against Rape (UK); Worker Hub for Change (Malaysia).


Demands of India’s farmers’ movement led by Samyukta Kisan Morcha:

1. Repeal of the anti-farmer laws brought in by Mr Modi’s government last year – The announcement of the decision of the Government was made on November 19th 2021 by the Indian Prime Minister – the actual repeal has to take place through Parliamentary processes. Given the trust deficit that has widened between the protestors and the government, the farmers would like to see this happen before they know that the Government actually agreed to the demand.

2. Make remunerative Minimum Support Prices (MSP) a legal guarantee for all agricultural produce and for all farmers – This is an important pending demand. In fact, this is the only thing, if secured, that will ensure that any future moves by the Government to bring back the “reforms”-related laws will at least secure a minimum price for farmers, even in a corporatised paradigm.

3. Withdraw the Electricity Amendments Bill – A new Bill (legal proposal) that seeks to make changes to the Electricity Act in India is talking about withdrawing cross-subsidising in this sector which will impact farmers and domestic consumers adversely. This Bill also usurps the powers of state governments in India’s federal set up. We are seeking a formal commitment, may be in the Supreme Court as a written sworn affidavit, that the Government will not bring this Bill to be passed in the Parliament.

4. Remove farmers from penal provisions of a statute related to Delhi’s air quality –Farmers were sought to be criminalised and penalised in a statute related to Delhi’s air quality, even though unsustainable practices by farmers are not a significant contributor to Delhi’s air pollution. We want incentives and support to be provided to our farmers for them to shift to sustainable farming practices without large scale stubble burning, etc., and for shifting out of the current monocultures. Even though the Government agreed to this demand, and removed it from one provision of a legislation it recently passed, it brought back penal provisions insidiously through another provision. We would like to see that Sec.15 in the Act that set up a Commission for Delhi’s Air Quality Management.

5. Withdraw all cases foisted on farmers as part of the agitation so far – Farmers had to protest to protect their own livelihoods and that of their future generations. Hundreds of cases have been foisted on protesting farmers including with serious charges like Sedition and Attempt to Murder, on thousands of farmers in the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Chandigarh and Madhya Pradesh. All these cases have to be withdrawn unconditionally. 

6. Support to the Martyrs’ families, and a Memorial for them – At least 670 farmers have sacrificed their lives for the movement so far. Kin of the martyrs need to be supported with compensation and employment. Parliament of India has to pay homage to these farmers. A memorial has to be erected in their memory by the government. 

7. Dismiss Ajay Mishra Teni from the Union Government and arrest him – He is the sootradhar or mastermind behind the barbaric killing of peacefully-protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh. He continues to be in the Council of Ministers of Modi Government, that too as a Minister of State for Home Affairs which controls law and order matters! Farmers demand that he be sacked from the Government and arrested, and legal proceedings initiated against him.

Until these demands are met, the struggle continues.