Hundreds of vehicles join British Columbia auto rally in solidarity with Punjabi farmers


Hundreds of vehicles moved on Wednesday for a car rally in the Lower Mainland in solidarity with Punjabi farmers protesting against new farm laws in India.

Protesters and their cars and trucks adorned with placards and Canadian flags gathered in the parking lot of Surrey Cineplex Strawberry Hill before heading to the Indian Consulate in downtown Vancouver.

Organizers said many BC residents have deep ties and ties to farmers, who camp on highways in the states of Punjab and Haryana to demand that the new laws be repealed.

Local South Asian community reacts to farmers’ protest in India

Reaction of local South Asian community after farmers’ protest in India

Many members of the Indo-Canadian community in Canada have their roots in the Punjab region of India.

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“What they’re basically doing is taking power away from small farmers, putting it in the hands of the government itself or the big companies,” said Moninder Singh, rally organizer and spokesperson. of the BC Gurdwara Council.

Farmers say the bill could cause the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices and lead them to be operated by companies that would buy their crops at low prices.

The Indian government insists that the laws are part of a much needed reform in the agricultural sector and will allow farmers to market their produce and increase production through private investment.

“What we end up with is that the farmers are misled, No. 1, but also marginalized to the point where they are at the mercy of big business to be bought out,” Singh said.

“Small farmers will lose their means of subsistence, but also their farms, their land and will find themselves in poverty.”

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How a Canadian aid agency is helping protesting farmers in India

How a Canadian aid agency is helping protesting farmers in India

Over the weekend, the situation escalated into clashes with police, who responded with tear gas, water cannons and baton charges around New Delhi.

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The two sides held talks on Tuesday but were unable to find common ground.

“If our families are struggling there, we cannot live here properly,” moved Parm Randawa told Global News.

“My brother-in-law, my nephew, they’ve been participating in the rallies for almost two months now,” she said.

“We are so worried because (we all have families) at home and if we don’t win this fight we will be slaves (to) the Indian government.”

Singh said he hoped the show of solidarity would help pressure the Canadian government to stand up for the rights of protesting farmers.

– With files from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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