Indian activists abroad extend support to protesting farmers

There is growing concern abroad about the state of democracy in India, activists said during an international conference organised on Sunday in support of protesting farmers.

Addressing a virtual event called ‘Global Indian Diaspora in Solidarity with Indian Farmers,’ they said that the democratic world was worried over recent developments in India and the new farm laws would force farmers and migrants to resort to tenant farming.

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“Leaders of the democratic world are well aware of what’s happening in India. There is real apprehension towards the state of democracy in India. India’s reputation has taken a beating not just over the new farm laws but because of the government’s attitude towards dissent, especially since the Citizenship Amendment Act of last year,” said Rohit Tripathi of Young India, a progressive Indian group based in Washington D.C.

Indian activists based in the U.S., Australia and other parts of the world expressed solidarity with the protesting farmers who have gathered in large numbers at various border entry points to the national capital. Participants in the discussion said that India was viewed earlier as a democratic country but the foundational values of the Indian state had eroded in the last few years.

Manish Madan, a lawyer based in New Jersey, said Indians abroad hoped that the Indian government would listen to the concerns expressed on a series of developments in India over the past few years that appeared to have eroded the democratic values.

“We hope the government works with multiple groups,” said Dr. Madan.

Mr. Tripathi said that the Indian community abroad was committed to “advancing the founding principles of the Indian republic.”

“The world sees an enlightened diaspora as part of an Indian whole. …and our activism, inspired by the constitution, is part of the Indian democratic story,” he added.

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