After Canada, UK, and Australia, the protesting farmers in Punjab have now received some support from NRIs in New Zealand.
Migrant Workers Association of New Zealand and Radio Inqilaab had organised a rally outside the Indian consulate in Auckland to condemn the Hathras rape incident and to extend support to farmers in India protesting against the three new agri laws. The rally was addressed virtually by Kirti Kisan Union vice president Rajinder Singh from Deep Singhwala village in Faridkot.
“I apprised them about our fears and apprehensions about these black laws. I also told them that we are also protesting against the corporate sector forcing shut their fuel stations, shopping malls and toll plazas,” Rajinder Singh said.
The NRIs raised slogans against the Union and the UP governments and assured the farmers of support in their struggle against the new laws. Among others they were carrying banners that read ‘We stand with farmers of India’, ‘revoke anti farmer laws’, ‘Justice for women now’, and ‘Dalit lives matter’.
Anu Kloti of Migrant Workers Association translated Rajinder Singh speech for the benefit non-Punjabi NRIs who were also part of the rally. Kloti, while speaking on the occasion, said, “Before the 60s, farmer in India used to grow crop as per his need. He used to go for diverse farming. Then came a so-called green revolution where farmers were asked to do intensive farming of only some crops such as wheat and paddy. Punjab farmers took the lead and for the initial five years, they reaped benefits. But later, the input costs started increasing while income remained stagnant, pushing farmers under a mountain of debts and eventually resulting in many of them dying by suicide. In addition to this, due to excessive use of farm chemicals, groundwater became polluted. Now, Indian government has come up with these laws that will be detrimental for the farmers. We stand by the Indian farmers in their hour of need”.
Mandeep Singh, a theatre artiste from Azad Rang Manch who conducts plays on social issues in New Zealand, said, “This gathering proves that we are still alive and hence we have come here to support our farmers. We are protesting against the corporate entry in agriculture sector.”
Mandeep recited a poem in Punjabi highlighting the hard work done by farmers, their dreams and their struggle. He concluded his poem with lines,”hathan nu lutan wale had vad ke zindagi de geet jit laye jange (by chopping off those hands which are looting others, we will win the songs of our lives)”. Sahib Singh from Panthik Vichar Manch and Dr Rajesh Dorole from Indian Association for Minorities in New Zealand also expressed their views.