Banbury Sikhs joined thousands of other peaceful protesters in central London on Sunday December 6 outside the Indian High Commission in solidarity with mass protests taking place currently in India over new farming bills.
The protesters included young Sikh children from Banbury who were accompanied by their parents.
Nine-year-old Taran Singh, a year 5 student from Middleton Cheney Primary School, said: “I wanted to go to the protest to show support for farmers. Without farmers we would have no food. I don’t understand why the Indian government is being cruel to farmers.”
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Seven-year-old Fateh Singh, a year 2 pupil from The Grange Community Primary School, held a sign in the peaceful protest saying “No farmers. No food.” His three year-sister Rabab Kaur also held a placard saying, “We support the farmers.”
In September, the Indian government passed a law that changed the rules around minimum pricing for crops and rules around corporations holding crops. The protesters say the rules will lead to the exploitation of farmers, bankruptcies and land seizures. The majority of Sikhs have roots in farming and agriculture back in India occupied Punjab, the Sikh homeland.
Cllr Surinder Dhesi, from a farming community in Punjabi herself, told Banbury Guardian: “This new law effects many British Sikhs who have family back in Punjab. This new law is the equivalent of abolishing a minimum working wage.”
“It is shameful that the Indian government has responded to hundreds and thousands of peaceful protesting farmers with firing tear gas, spraying the public with water cannons using sewage water, mercilessly beating elderly citizens and little disregard for the women and children peacefully protesting. I urge the British government to hold India to account for its atrocities and human rights violations against religious minorities and now farmers.”
Bhai Manvir Singh, a Sikh educator from Banbury said: “On Sunday we held a special prayer vigil at Banbury Gurdwara for the peacefully protesting farmers in India. Since Narendra Modi has come into power, there has been an increase in right-wing Hindu fascism and minorities are increasingly feeling under threat.
"Punjab, the Sikh homeland is the main farming region and therefore this is a huge blow to the Sikh community. It is inspiring to see Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and Christians come together from different parts of India unite together against the Indian government’s oppressive treatment of its citizens.”
This farmers’ peaceful protest that is taking place outside Delhi and in major cities across the globe is said to be one of the world’s largest peaceful protests. Despite police brutality, Sikh farmers in accordance of their faith tradition of feeding the hungry without discrimination, have been providing free meals and drinks to hungry policemen and the local population throughout the peaceful protest.