About 30 members of Terrace’s Indo-Canadian community gathered in front of City Hall the afternoon of Dec. 1 for a demonstration in support of Indian farmers, who themselves have been protesting changes to India’s agriculture laws.
Currently, the Indian government buys grain from farmers with set minimum prices. The law reforms are designed to allow private marketing and sale of grain, but many farmers fear they won’t be able to earn as much without those fixed minimum prices.
Harjit Singh Bhander attended the Terrace event. He grew up on a farm in India and still has family there who are farmers. He said the demonstration was essential to raise awareness about the conditions facing protestors in India.
“Stop treating the farmers like animals,” he said. “[Police] are using water cannons. They are using tear gas. They are blocking them from coming to New Delhi to express their concerns.”
He said the new laws would hand an unfair advantage to large corporate farms, which are better able to navigate private markets, while smaller farms won’t be able to survive competition from larger players.
“Most of those farmers are small farmers. They have four acres, five acres. Their future depends on that minimum price,” Bhander said.
More to come.