BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – For the past seven weeks – tens of thousands of farmers in India have been peacefully protesting against three laws passed by their government. On Sunday, hundreds of Indian farmers in Kern County showed their solidarity through a peaceful protest in Southeast Bakersfield.
“They’re trying to privatize agriculture,” said Mona Gill, organizer of the protest. “Farmers would be selling directly to corporations and corporations would be setting the laws.”
Most of the protesters are traveling from the Punjab region of India to country’s capital city of Delhi. They’re driving hundreds of miles in their tractors and trolleys. Indians from all over the world are coming together in solidarity with this protest. Even here – in Kern County – almost 8,000 miles away.
“We want them to see that it’s not just the people in India opposed to this, it’s people all around the world,” said Pardeep Dhanda, a local indian farmer.
Hundreds of local Indian farmers came out in cars and tractors. They drove along South Fairfax Road from East Panama Lane to Buena Vista Blvd.
“Even though this is a human struggle in India, we feel it in our hearts here and are so passionate about it,” Gill said. “And that’s why there are so many people here because they feel the same way.”
All in support of small farmers.
“The government should want the farmers to thrive because that makes the whole country thrive,” Gill said. “When you try to marginalize or take away the rights of a group, especially farmers, they’re feeding the world, so it’s really important.”
Many of them come from a long family of farmers – with ties back in India.
“My parents came from India and they know what it’s like, the corruption,” said Pardeep Dhindsa, a local Indian farmer. “We’re here showing our support voicing our opinions and saying give the farmers what they want- no farmers no food.”
Some fear that what’s happening to farmers in India could happen in the United States.
“There are so many small family farms here,” Dhindsa said. “If we experience that over here, what could it lead to – millions of people without food, loss of jobs.”
Although the protest in India originated in the Punjab region- Indians from all over the country are now uniting to protect their small farmers.