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Farmer Protests in India shakes US Policy

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By Shazia Anwer Cheema

Shazia Cheema is a Foreign Affairs expert, analyst who writing for national and international media outlets including Pakistan Observer, Eurasia Diary, InSight, and Mina News Agency. She heads the Thought Center of Dispatch News Desk (DND). She did her MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is currently registered as a Ph.D. Scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: shaziaanwer@yahoo.com


Audio of Article Farmer Protests in India shakes US Policy is hereunder:

 

 

 

There is no doubt that President Biden Administration has over 20 Indian Americans in lead roles but Human Rights abuses of Indian government are so blunt that the despite having favorable clout in US Congress, Indian name is on table as Human Rights violator and vindictive against its political opponents.

US Congressional Research Service (CRS) could not avoid ton take Indian situation and it has released a report titled “Farmer Protests in India” in which it has warned that India’s position on the ongoing stir over the farmers’ protests could “present a challenge” for the Joe Biden administration.

In one of my previous articles titled “Parasites and Peace in South Asia”, I commented that the war, imposed by BJP government on Indian population, confirms that difference of religious thoughts is not a reason for waging war over its own population and it is not only the Muslim-Majority Indian Occupied Kashmir or Assam rather Tripura, Nagaland, Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand Uttar Pradesh have become areas under Modi’s “surgical strikes”.

I believe that being power hungry is a psychological state of subjugating people irrespective of who are they?

Modi government is sowing hate among masses because hate brings more opportunities to divide the people and more divisions create more opportunities for ruling elite to subjugate masses.

Anger, belligerence, vehemence, and violence are different kinds of aggressions BJP leadership using against political opponents. Human psychology tells us that people who are psychologically weak prefer to opt for aggressive behavior to show their presence when they live with more mature, reasonable, confident, and skillful people. They also feel inferiority and this Inferiority Complex brings Superiority Complex as a Defense Mechanism. This is what BJP leadership is following as a tool to subdue common man of India.

The current Indian situation seems like a farce where people are fighting for their existence and leadership is denying it by claiming that their struggle is “foreign” and does not belong to India. Indian PM Modi says that revolutionaries should leave India and should go somewhere else.

The CRS report written by K. Alan Kronstadt, who is Specialist in South Asian Affairs indicates that crackdown on dissent has been excessive and reflective of a broader trend towards authoritarianism in India.

“Perceived backsliding in India’s democracy and human rights record may present a challenge for the Biden administration in formulating its policies towards India and the Indio-Pacific,” the report added.

Commenting on it, a Congressional aide said that “If CRS has a published report on a topic, it indicates that the topic has generated some notable level of interest on the Hill (Capitol Hill where the US Congress is located).”

In its first response to the farmers’ protests in India, Joe Biden’s State Department said on February 3, 2021 that it encouraged a resolution to the agitation through dialogue but it also showed support for underlying reforms that triggered the protests.

Summary of the Report says:

In September 2020, India’s Parliament passed three pieces of legislation intended to make major changes to the workings of the country’s agricultural markets, specifically by removing existing restrictions on the marketing of farm products so as to allow farmers to negotiate directly with private buyers. Government officials and pro-reform analysts in India and elsewhere contend that the changes are long overdue and will serve to increase both national agricultural production and farmer incomes while benefiting consumers.

Within months, however, mass opposition to the new laws arose, with farmer groups in the fertile, Sikh-majority state of Punjab and, the neighboring Haryana state, else wherein the country arguing that any rapid withdrawal of government’s role in the country’s agricultural markets will lead to exploitation of farmers by private firms.

Opponents also criticize the new laws has come without sufficient consultation and consensus-building. Generally peaceful farmer-led protests began in late November and have continued to date, mainly in and near the Indian capital of New Delhi. In January, the Indian Supreme Court issued a hold on the new laws, and soon after the Indian government announced a suspension of the laws’ implementation pending ongoing negotiations with farmer groups. The protests became violent on January 26, a national holiday in India, attracting global attention. Indian authorities’ responses to these and previous major protests elicit criticism on human rights grounds in a country seen by some to be regressing in this realm. Indian officials have arrested numerous journalists and activists, requested broad internet shutdowns, and brought pressure on social media companies, including threats to arrest their employees in India. By some accounts, the crackdown on dissent has been excessive and reflective of a broader trend toward authoritarianism in India.

The Administration of President Joseph Biden and Members of Congress have taken note of the developments, with some among the latter group expressing support for the protesters’ cause. Perceived backsliding in India’s democracy and human rights record may present a challenge for the Biden Administration in formulating its policies toward India and the Indo-Pacific.

About Human Rights issue, Reports says:

Perceptions of excessive use of force by authorities appear to fuel opposition anger. Observers warn that a violent turn in protests is symptomatic of a broader threat to Indian democracy. Such analysts cite as examples the Modi government’s moves to tighten its control of Muslim-majority Kashmir and the introduction of controversial citizenship laws widely perceived as discriminatory on religious grounds. Some analysts argue that the perceived erosion of India’s democracy, restrictions on minority rights, and the increased repression of dissent create a quandary for the Biden Administration in shaping policy its policies toward India and in the Indo-Pacific.

Press freedoms are a particular area of concern: in 2020, Reporters Without Borders ranked India 142ndworldwide in this realm, continuing a four-year downward trend. During the current protests, human rights groups accuse Indian authorities of bringing “baseless criminal charges” against journalists who covered the Republic Day events.67Charges brought by state governments include sedition, promoting communal disharmony, and making statements prejudicial to national integration. Critics warn that Prime Minister Modi’s approach to dissent “increasingly involves stifling dissenting voices, blocking the internet, and cracking down on journalists,” and find that Indian authorities “reflexively pull the plug on internet service, particularly via smart phone” in locations where protests are anticipated and are asking volunteers to join police in scouring social media to target “anti-national content.”68Indian law prohibits the publication online of any material authorities deem as defamatory, or that could incite violence. Under national law, the government can direct service providers to suspend internet services or remove sites, among other actions. The Indian government reportedly shutdown internet access at certain times during the farmer protests.

Regional Peace and India

Modi government has put the entire region in danger and a clear threat of civil unrest is on the verge, situation not favoring the Indian government also can create unfavorable circumstances for America.

Keep in mind that Punjab is not Kashmir and cannot be doomed like Kashmir. It will be a face keeping issue for international media and world politics to keep eyes shut on the current Indian scenario. I have mentioned in another article that Modi has play the last trick stored in the bag and try to pin the entire blame on outsiders but again it backfired calling their own citizens outsiders and parasites.

Indian government keeps on trying beneficiary advocacy campaign regarding farmers bill but all in vain. Now more than ever public knows by heart what these bills mean and how they will affect not only the farmers but the entire middle and upper middle class of India. Corporate India pushing in full might to get agri-lands on lease and then sub lease to whatever party they want. On the other hand, farmers taking this entire situation as disowning their land which is culturally synonymous to their existence.

Punjabi diaspora is extremely powerful

I am explaining from the very beginning Punjabi Sikh may be outnumbered but Punjabi diaspora is extremely powerful and habituated from Latin to North America, Europe and Australia. They are well established and affluent and can fund their protests for a very long time. Punjab the fruit basket of India inculcates pride in its habitants and that centuries long worth of wisdom is part and parcel of Punjabis. Peace protests will keep on creating ripples across borders and will leave no choice but to take corporate agri-bills back.
India has to keep his fake image of democracy which is in serious trouble in the hands of Adani and Ambani. Time will unveil how US policy get out or get stuck into it

US Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report  “Farmer Protests in India” can be downloaded to clock this link

 

Central Desk
Central News Desk.

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