Nagar: Blockades had little in common with Indian farmers’ protests | #socialmedia


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The Indian news media and many people from here and there are comparing the Indian farmers’ protests with that of the anti-vaxxers in the guise of the truckers’ convoy. They are equating the former with the occupation of the Ottawa downtown. Comparing both is a denial of the facts.

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The Print, an Indian online newspaper launched in 2017, in its article on Jan. 30, “As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with his family, reportedly went into hiding in a secret location due to potential security threats as thousands of people in a huge convoy streamed into the capital, Ottawa, to protest against Canada’s vaccine mandates, social media users in India said that Trudeau is receiving a comeuppance for supporting the farmer protests in India that lasted for over a year.”

In December 2020, the prime minister had supported the farmers’ protests.

Amish Devgan, the managing editor of a news channel in India tweeted, “… Karma Strikes harder r…” He further exaggerates the numbers by saying “lakhs (hundreds of thousands) on streets” and also “Trudeau and his family ran away to secret location due to security threat…”

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I have been writing about the farmers’ protest in India in these columns, saying those protests were led by the farmers themselves and the farmer organizations. The people of the agricultural states supported this agitation. No political leaders were allowed to speak from the central stage of the protesting farmers although there was clear support from many political parties.

The Freedom Convoy was at least similar to that of the Indian farmers’ protest. The farmers were opposing three farm laws suddenly introduced by the BJP government in India.

In India, the 32 organizations formed the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (joint farmers front) and various groups from the Indian society — the traders, shopkeepers, farm labour groups, the landlords and tenants — joined the farmers.

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The leadership of the Freedom Convoy, on the other hand, clearly seemed confused and some used Nazi signs and slogans, allegedly defiled the War Memorial in Ottawa and made the life of the residents of downtown Ottawa a living hell.

The majority of the South-Asian truckers opposed this truckers’ convoy outrightly.

During the Indian protest of farmers, more than 650 people died during the agitation. Nobody was killed, thankfully, in Canada, on the other hand.

The ultimate goal of the farmers in India was to make the central government repeal the agricultural laws, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi did in November last year. The Canadian federal government has not repealed its vaccine mandates for border-crossing truckers.

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There were some facts that seemed similar. The accusations of foreign money and interference were among the very common ones. The call for the police to tackle the agitators, the protests being a threat to democracy, anti-nationals and sedition-like labels were similar to the voices heard in both countries.

The protests in India strengthened the ties between the states of Haryana and Punjab, between different sections of the society, and these very protests proved if people are united and peaceful, they may achieve anything.

Those who are equating the Freedom Convoy and the Indian farmers’ protest are doing nothing but trying to vitiate the relationships of both countries.

The way Trudeau tackled the situation here in Canada can be debated or criticized, but striking similarities between the two different protests is least worth debating.

Rishi Nagar is the news director at Red FM 106.7 in Calgary, a member of the Calgary Police Service’s Anti-Racism Committee and a member of the senate of the University of Calgary.

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