What is going on in India with the #FarmerProtests?
Jan 26: Insurrection injures over 500 police officers and causes one death.
Yesterday Rihanna and Greta Thunberg both tweeted out support for the farm protest in India. What is going on? Should we support these protests? Are these laws a neo-liberal takeover of farming in India, or do these laws give more freedom and profits to the farmers?
My research indicates that farmers are vastly benefited by the new laws, which caused me to look deeper into the subject to find out why the farmers were rioting.
A very short, useful background of the history of farm sales and subsidies back to the 14th century
The agriculture sales system in India was imposed in Medieval times. Alauddin Khilji, the Turkic invader who ruled India in the 14th century, first introduced the trade and price control policies to support his large and marauding army and enrich the Turkic nobility.
Other than personal use, all farm produce; cotton, grains, and pulses must be sold through the district’s middleman or wholesaler.
There is only one place to sell and bargaining over price is difficult due to this monopoly.
The East India Trading Company continued this system, forcing Indians to grow Indigo and Opium and then sell them at dirt cheap rates. The British colonialists followed this same policy to procure cheap cotton.
After Indian Independence, this system continued and was written into law in 1955 as the APMC(Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) Act. Under this law, farmers sell their products at the local certified wholesaler, known as a MANDI or APMC, for their district.
They sell for the price offered by that middleman, there are minimum price supports(MSP) that keep a farmer from being underpaid by these middlemen on certain crops. Farmers are not allowed to storehouse crops to try to sell them elsewhere, they could be charged for hoarding.
This allowed a small group of middlemen to monopolize the farm business, paying farmers the lowest price they could, while raising prices to the manufacturers and retailers. Since it was a monopoly, the people have had no other choice.
The three bills introduced and passed in the Parliament of India, came about after 20 years of consultations and discussions. Previous to Modi, his opposition, the Congress Party, including leader Raul Gandhi, have supported these changes. This is not really about Narendra Modi. This is about long time coming reforms.
What The Indian Farm Laws Do:
There are three new agriculture laws passed by both houses of legislature and signed into law.
The first law dismantles the restrictions on free trade.
Farmers are allowed to sell anywhere.
They can sell to any MANDI regardless of location, through a private wholesaler, or even by contract farming with a retailer. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) still governs the lowest price a farmer can be paid. Opponents criticize this law for doing away with the price controls, yet the law does not address the MSP. In fact, MSP has risen by 150% this year and the Central Government(India’s Government) has made assurances that MSP will not go away.
The second law addresses allows the building of storage facilities for food and commodities.
Previously the owners of food storage facilities could be charged as hoarders. So, of course, nobody built or invested in this infrastructure. Currently, large amounts of food go to waste due to lack of storage and farmers suffer the consequences and loss.
The third law allows for contract farming, where a farmer can agree to grow crops for a third-party.
These three laws remove the monopoly of the third-party middlemen, a multi-million dollar industry that adds little value to the product, food.
With these big dollar interests threatened, we then start to see a coordinated misinformation campaign, with other groups joining in for ulterior motives, supporting the farm protest, each for their own reasons.
The source of some of the opposition, Propaganda
People started spreading false information about the farm protests to gain attention for these laws they categorized as neo-liberal or fascist depending on the outside audience they were addressing.
The agitators or middlemen told the farmers that the price supports were going away, the place that they sold their grain/produce would be out of business, and their farms could be sold under contract farming. All untrue.
One could understand if a small town farmer only hears this information, how they could become agitated and want to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Protestors set up Camp at Delhi Border
In late November 2020, farmers and middlemen from Indian States of Punjab and Haranya set up camp at various border points of Delhi to protest the Central Government’s new agricultural reforms. Large amounts of money were raised to feed everyone.
In December, The Farm Minister put out this fact check of all their myths:
This information was sorely needed, but late. It seems that the resistance to the new laws is partially the fault of the Indian Government as they did not properly explain the laws to the billions of farmers nationwide; yet we only see the protests coming from the small portion in Punjab.
Sikhs for Justice, OfMI, and other pro-Khalistani groups join in.
The farm protests and unrest had a large Sikh involvement. The overseas groups recognized this as a ripe environment for the separatist Khalistan movement even though the movement had only 0.1% of Punjabi support prior to the farm protests.
Several large organizations committed to a armed conflict in India over Eastern Punjab joined in with the farm protests in India.
Though these organizations seek a separate Sikh nation, they only want to carve out the part of Punjab that is in India. The larger portion of Punjab in Pakistan would remain as part of Pakistan. Strange delineation for a group seeking a historic homeland. A minority of Sikhs support Khalistan.
21,532 persons were killed between 1981 and 1995 in a series of terrorist activities and occupations by the Khalistanis.
In 1982, a Canadian Khalistani terrorist group called Babbar Khalsa (BK) bombed Air India Flight 182. All 329 passengers and crew perished.
In 2003, Bhajan Singh Bhinder met with the undercover agents to negotiate the purchase of assault weapons and shoulder-fired missiles for the Free Khalistan movement to be sent to India via Pakistan.
In 2019–2021, the organization Bhinder founded(OfMI), targeted Hindu and Indian Americans, attempted to interfere with US political races by tying candidates’ religion or nationality to politics in India. Both Tulsi Gabbard and Preston Kulkarni were slandered with these guilt by association fallacies. The Indian-American Muslim Council(IAMC) coordinated the social media misinformation campaigns with OfMI.
26th January Parade Turned Violent
The farmers received permission to hold a parade on India’s Republic Day which is their country’s celebration of independence from Great Britain. Although India’s equivalent of the FBI said they saw credible threats of violence, the Indian government approved a parade through a pre-planned parade route.
Farmers used their tractors to bust through parade route constraints and attacked police, deliberately trying to run them over. Meanwhile, in India most of the police are armed solely with sticks. There were 500 police officers injured during the insurrection. You can identify them in the below clips by their brown uniforms.
One man was killed when his tractor overturned while trying to ram police barricades.
Riots occurred along many areas of the route.
Some police were seriously injured from the attackers armed with swords.
Red Fort is a historic fort in the city of Delhi in India that once served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. The protestors went there and raised the flag of Khalistan over the fort, while injuring many police and causing damage.
An attempt was made to mainstream and internationalize the malcontent with an organized tweet-storm created to look organic.
On February 4th, Rihanna and Miss Greta Thunberg joined a planned tweet storm attention campaign, leaked documents show they pre-planned tweets about the mass death of protestors from the January 26th insurrection. One person died from overturning their tractor trying to ram barricades.
The website AskIndiaWhy is registered to an American in the known terrorist group Sikhs for Justice. There is currently ongoing a twitter storm of misinformation from this social media campaign.
The root cause?
Recently many have suggested that the root cause of the protest is that the middlemen don’t want the tax evasion to end.
A huge amount of untaxed income is being hid by middlemen saying purchased produce and grains are their own, so the sale is untaxed. Resale is taxable. The new laws require farmers to report where they sold their untaxed produce so these tax evasive actions can be traced. Learn more here.
Where does this go?
The farmers protest leaders had hoped for a more robust action by the Modi government against their violent protests. They sought a moment like with Assad when he aggressively took action against ISIS regime change infiltrators, and killed many “protestors.”
They didn’t get their martyrs, so they had to change their social media storm tactics and tweets, but they remain adamant, trying to get support for a movement more dangerous than our January 6th Capitol riots.
The more people who know the real story, the less likely the insurrectionists will gain support for more terrorism in India.
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