Protesting Indian Farmers Appeal to UN Human Rights Council

Indian farmers protesting at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh (UP) on January 29, 2021. Photo: Swaraj Abhiyan
Indian farmers protesting at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh (UP) on January 29, 2021. Photo: Swaraj Abhiyan

Now the farm agitation has gone directionless and it has become almost impossible for the protesters to get their demands accepted by the Indian government.

By Rakesh Raman

The Indian farmers, who have been protesting against the contentious farm laws introduced by the government of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, have approached the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to get the laws repealed.

Darshan Pal, a leader of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM or Joint Farmers Front) which is leading farm protests, read out a message during the UNHRC session on Monday (March 15).

He stressed that the introduction of three agri-marketing laws against which farmers have been protesting since November 2020 is a violation of the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (UNDROP) and Other People Working in Rural Areas” while India is a signatory to this international declaration.

In his brief appeal to UNHRC, the SKM leader also raised the issue of minimum support price (MSP) on which the protesting farmers demand a legal guarantee from the Modi government.

He added that the new farm laws will not double farmers’ income, as the Modi government has been claiming. He said that the few states where similar policies were introduced have seen farmers sinking into poverty, losing their lands, and having to work as labourers elsewhere to make ends meet.

Darshan Pal said that farmers want reforms, but not these ones that the government is imposing without consulting the farmers. He urged the UN to direct the Indian government to abide by the Declaration, repeal the laws, and start consultations with farmers to carry out reforms in the agriculture sector.

While the Modi government has refused to accept farmers’ demands, it has unleashed brutal state power to crush the protests and the government is implicating farmers and their supporters in false criminal cases and sending them to jails where the innocent protesters have to live in torturous conditions.

The complicit Indian courts are ignoring the sorry plight of protesters and supporting the policemen who act like gangs of criminals to beat and harass the protesters including women and senior citizens.

As a result of the crackdown on farmers, many protesting farmers who were camping around Delhi have started going back to their homes in Punjab, a state which has been spearheading the movement for the past about 6 months. The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha has also failed to meet its objectives, and it is not able to get the false criminal cases against farmers canceled.

Now the farm agitation has gone directionless and it has become almost impossible for the protesters to get their demands accepted by the Indian government. [ Click here to watch videos related to farm agitation. ]

Although some international political groups are issuing casual statements in favor of Indian farmers, such statements cannot influence the Modi government which is hell-bent to impose its despotic decisions on Indians.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman