Farmers' Protest in India: how does that affect us?

Watch: report by ITV News Meridian's Ravneet Nandra

The Sikh community in Gravesend has a long association with farming. It's been a way of life for generations of families and today, on the occasion of  Vaisakhi, a celebration of harvest time, many are thinking about the plight of farmers in India. 

For months, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting about new agricultural laws, which they say will leave them in financial peril.

The protests have received worldwide attention- including Singer Rihanna and Boxer Amir Khan. 


Whats happening India?

Four four months, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting on the borders of the capital city of India, New Delhi, against three new agricultural laws. It'll mean farmers will have to negotiate a price for their produce on the market floor, and not be guaranteed a minimum price for their crop, which they normally do.

The Indian government says the new bills will benefit farmers, but farmers say they say the lack of financial security means their livelihoods are at risk. 

Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting on the borders of the capital city of India, New Delhi, against three new agricultural laws. Credit: ITN

What are the laws?

  • Farmers produce and trade commerce bill

  • Farmers agreement on price assurance and farm service bill

  • Essential commodities bill

The Indian Government says the new bills are a benefit, giving farmers the freedom to sell to anyone at any price, and will help to modernise the agriculture industry.

But many farmers are concerned that it could drive them into poverty, as they may not be able to compete with the big corporations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered to suspend the laws while talks continue.

Kiran Kaur Manku is co-founder of The 1928 Institute and academic at the University of Oxford. She say's there is a deep pain inside of her when she see's scenes in India of the protests.

  • Kiran Kaur Manku, co-founder- The 1928 Institute



How do these farming laws affect us in the Meridian region?

The Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Gravesend is the largest Sikh temple in Europe. Many of It's congregation are third and fourth generation farmers.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Gravesend in raising awareness of the protests

Campaigners have been raising awareness of the protests here and showing solidarity with their families back in India.

The Gurdwara was lit green to start a conversation with locals, and in December there was a car rally to Central London where hundreds joined from Gravesend.

  • Jagjit Singh, Sohan Singh and Narinderjit Singh- Guru Nanak Darbar committee members

Watch: campaigners from Gravesend setting off to join a car rally in London in December


In Oxford, a smaller peaceful protest was held by students from the University of Oxford Indian society to start a conversation in their community.

Jagyoseni Mandal is a student there but is currently in Kolkata in India because of the pandemic.

University of Oxford Indian society students wanted to start a conversation in their community. Credit: University of Oxford Indian society
  • Jagyoseni Mandal, student


The protests have attracted global attention, reaching political activist Greta Thunberg, professional boxer Amir Khan, and singer Rihanna asking "why aren't we talking about this?"

Large barricades erected and topped with barbed wire stand just a few metres from the border into Delhi. It's caused concerns of human rights violations, and charities here in the UK have been offering aide.

Jagdev Singh Virdee is part of Sikh Assembly who are working with Sikh Relief in India to help make farmers' lives on the protest site more bearable in the harsh temperatures.


We've organised thousands of small tents for people to be able to sleep in and find some shelter during the winter. Now with the heat, things like mosquito nets, water purifiers, in order to keep people's wellbeing in tact and physical health.

Jagdev Singh Virdee

Sikh Assembly and Sikh Relief offering aide in India. Credit: Sikh Assembly

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