Tweet a rose to Modi on Valentine’s Day: Indian diaspora activists launch new campaign

Tweet a rose to Modi Valentine’s Day

Campaign in support of Indian farmers urges followers to tweet three hashtags, #Rose2Repeal #LoveToFarmers #OneAppealRepeal.

If you still haven’t decided about whom to send a rose to on this Valentine’s Day, a US-based global progressive group has a suggestion.

The Global Indian Diaspora, a coalition of progressives from the Indian diaspora across the world, has launched a unique initiative for this month of love. The group wants you to extend support to the farmers protesting in India by tweeting or sending a rose to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The fun social media campaign, supported by over a dozen progressive organizations around the world, aims at showing that love can conquer hate. The campaign has come up with three hashtags: #Rose2Repeal #LoveToFarmers #OneAppealRepeal.

The coalition encourages people to show solidarity with the Indian farmers by sending or tweeting a rose to the prime minister and asking him to repeal the controversial farm laws, which triggered the protests.

The organizers urge followers to send a rose to Indian missions in their respective region to express their solidarity with farmers in India.

“We would, like to express our unwavering solidarity with the farmers in India and to draw attention to their non-violent protest who are braving harsh weather conditions and repressive measures for over two months,” the coalition said.

Besides the Global Indian Progressive Alliance (GIPA), the organizations that are part of this campaign include Hindus for Human Rights-USA (H4HR), Friends of India-Texas, The Humanism Project, Australia, and the Boston South Asian Coalition.

The alliance has also written a letter to Indian Embassies and consulates across the world. Calling it a “Love Conquers Hate,” campaign, the letter addressed to the consulates states, “The current movement of more than two million Indian farmers – from Haryana, Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra,Karnataka and several other states – is a people’s movement led by farmers,grassroots rural workers and farm and labor unions. Farmers are the primary stakeholders of India’s agricultural sector who provide the basis for India’s food sovereignty and security, and are our annadatas (food providers).

Here is the text of the letter:

Letter by Global Indian Diaspora to Embassies & Consulates of India Across the World for Feb. 14th “Love Conquers Hate” Campaign. #Rose2Repeal #LoveToFarmers #RosesforHumanRights #OneAppealRepeal

February 9, 2021

We, the members of the Global Indian Diaspora, urge the Government of India to repeal the three farm laws passed in 2020. We hereby express our unwavering support for the moral perseverance of the brave farmers of India who have continued to struggle since August 2020 for their right to be heard, for food sovereignty and security for all Indian citizens, and for justice across the Indian Republic in their demands to repeal the three Farm Laws – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

The current movement of more than two million Indian farmers — from Haryana, Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka and several other states — is a people’s movement led by farmers, grassroots rural workers and farm and labor unions. Farmers are the primary stakeholders of India’s agricultural sector who provide the basis for India’s food sovereignty and security, and are our annadatas (food providers). Unfortunately, a declining demand in the Indian economy in recent years (itself a marker of a weakening economy) has kept prices for agriculture low. Two policies in particular destroyed many informal economic activities and damaged livelihoods for millions: the ill-conceived November 2016 demonetization drive and the subsequent, badly implemented, national goods and services tax.

In September 2020, the Parliament of India, at the behest of the Central government, hastily passed three new Farm Bills without time for discussion or debate- leading to the further erosion of the Federal structure and Indian constitutional framework, since agriculture is under the purview of states’ policy, and not the Centre. In response, the farmers’ mass movement led by dozens of farm unions and over 500 farmers’ organizations mobilized a peaceful demonstration in Delhi/NCR in order to push for their immediate repeal. Collectively, the Farm Bills are patently ‘anti-farmer’ and would, in the future, leave farmers at the mercy of corporate interests (including those of multinationals such as Reliance, Adani Group, Monsanto/Bayer, Dupont, etc.).

We wish to amplify this message of peace, unity and harmony in India, and urge the Government of India to reflect and act upon the following at the earliest:

    1. An immediate and unequivocal repeal of these farm laws and the creation of a minimum-support price mechanism (MSP) for essential commodities such as wheat and rice as set by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) for all farmers. Indeed, the new Farm Laws do not require prices for sales to private parties to be linked to the MSP — a key factor governing the mandi structure. Without this protection, farmers with small landholdings are vulnerable to price exploitation by multinational corporations or large-scale purchasers. Approximately 86% of farmers are small landholders with less than 5 acres and will bear the brunt of these laws without the MSP safety net. Another reason for the repeal are the legal implications as the current Farm Bills remove both transparency and accountability of corporate actors by curtailing legal actions against them. For example, Section 13 of the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce Act, 2020 states: “No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Central Government or the State Government, or any officer of the Central Government or the State Government or any other person in respect of anything which is good faith done or intended to be done under this Act or of any rules or orders made thereunder”, while Section 15 states, “No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter, the cognizance of which can be taken and disposed of by any authority empowered by or under this Act or the rules made thereunder”
    2. Release all farmers, and labor organizers in custody. We would like to recognize the moral perseverance of Indian farmers and amplify the voices of farm leaders like Darshan Pal, who opposes the “…repressive measures unleashed by the government against farmers, including the discriminatory laws, the arrests of farmers and the internet shutdown,” (Deutsche Welle). One serious case is that of Dalit labor rights activist Nodeep Kaur (23-yrs old) who was arrested by the Sonipat Police on 12 January, 2021 on baseless charges of ‘attempt to murder, rioting, and assault to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty under the Indian Penal Code’. Her bail was rejected on 2nd February 2021, and she is being held in Karnal jail for over 20 days, where she was allegedly assaulted by the police. We call for justice for Nodeep Kaur and all political prisoners like her. In addition, there are over 100 farmers who have gone missing since the Republic Day protests as well as many other political prisoners who remain in police custody without due process.
    3. The GOI must recognize the right to peaceful assembly and protest by these farmers and their supporters who have been in Delhi for more than two months now. Delhi Police as authorized by the Center, must commit to ensuring the safety of these peaceful dissenters. There must be stronger and transparent security cooperation between law enforcement and organizers.
    4. Respect for Farmers/’Nothing About Us Without Us’ – The GOI must undertake a public commitment to include stakeholders (farmer’s unions/groups) as part of a review of existing laws and all agriculture laws going forward.
      4a. We demand that Central leadership engage honestly and sincerely with farmers, acknowledging their fear, anger and grievances.
      4b. In the case of these specific agriculture laws, repeal the laws and submit the bills to a parliamentary committee for review and stakeholder engagement to modify them in a genuine effort to best meet the needs of farmers, as per prior parliamentary norms.
      4c. We are asking for the GOI to initiate a shared governance structure for implementation of such laws.
      4d. We second the Kisan Ekta Morcha’s call for an open debate on the Farm Laws with the Prime Minister of India.
      1. We oppose any rhetoric and/or ideology that divides the people of India and firmly stand for democracy’s promise of an India for all.

Jai Hind. Jai Jawan. Jai Kisan

 

Respectfully,

 

On Behalf of

Global Indian Progressive Alliance (GIPA)

Hindus for Human Rights-USA (H4HR)

Friends of India-Texas

The Humanism Project, Australia

Boston South Asian Coalition (BSAC)

Voices Against Fascism in India (VAFI)

Young India, Inc.

Kisan Pizza, UK

Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI)

Students Against Hindutva Ideology (SAHI)

International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (inSAF)

Canadians Against Oppression & Persecution (COAP)

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)

Alliance to Save & Protect America from Infiltration by Religious Extremists (ASPAIRE)

Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India (CAPI)

Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC)

Dalit Solidarity Forum, US

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