Civil society groups and academics have condemned the BJP government’s “repressive reaction” to the farmers’ protests and demanded the withdrawal of all cases filed against protesters.
At a meeting held virtually on Wednesday, they expressed solidarity with the farmer groups and backed their demand for the repeal of the three new agricultural reform laws.
“This is the kisan Shaheen Bagh,” said Kavita Krishnan of the All-India Progressive Women’s Association. The way the farmers were being criticised as anti-national and Khalistani terrorists was reminiscent of what was done to students, women and protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women added that women protesters were being insulted by being asked if they had been paid to join the agitation.
These laws had wider consequences and affected even people outside the farming community, said P. Sainath of the People’s Archive for Rural India. Clauses in the laws on agricultural marketing and contract farming did not allow for legal grievance redressal. “Any action taken by any government official in good faith or in the intention of good faith cannot be taken to any civil court. This is unheard of,” said Mr. Sainath, expressing concern that such clauses could be inserted into other laws as well.