A rally in support of farmers protesting against government regulations on the agricultural industry in Indian will be held tomorrow (Dec. 5) morning in Penticton.
The protest rally will leave the Penticton Wal-Mart parking lot at 9 a.m. and head through downtown, before circling back to end at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.
The rally comes as similar protests have been held across the world in protest of the Indian government’s implementation of new agriculture bills.
In September, the Indian government passed bills that would open up the agricultural industry to expanded private interests.
The rally follows one earlier this fall in Penticton, which was organized by the Okanagan Sikh Community and held on Oct. 17.
The concern stems from how farmers do business in India and how the new bills upend the decades of business practices, as well as the government’s response to protests.
In particular, one of the bills allows farmers to sell their produce directly to customers, instead of selling them to or through state-controlled government market places.
“Our main motive is to make the world aware of what is going on,” said organizer Hitesh Talwar. “It’s the same thing with the Black Lives Matter; farmers’ lives are in danger right now.”
Farmers in India have been protesting the bills since before they were passed in September, protests have lead to reports of violence against some of the protesters, according to Talwar.
“We are really impacted emotionally,” said Talwar. “It’s not like we’re disconnected, and we can’t see what’s going on. They are beating people, and that’s parents and grandparents.”
Talwar continued to say that due to COVID-19 and the ongoing restrictions on travel, this is one of the few ways those in Canada can help their relatives and fellow farmers back in India.
“We are trying to help them emotionally [and] financially as we can,” said Talwar. “We are lucky to be here in a democratic country, you have a right to do something, and have the people listen to you and have the government listen to you.”
Talwar said all of the protesters will be making sure to follow all of the COVID-19 guidelines, such as physical distancing and mask-wearing during the rally.
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