Demonstrators hold first of five Vancouver solidarity rallies for farmers in India

Dec 10 2020, 3:35 pm

The local Punjabi-Sikh community will be holding a demonstration in downtown Vancouver to continue their ongoing support for farmers protesting in India.

The event, named “5 Days for Panjab Kisaan,” will have five days of organized acts of protest. In a media statement, organizers highlight that the number five (Panj) holds meaningful importance, as the word Panjab directly translates to “Land of Five Rivers.” In Sikhism “Panj Pyarey” is the name given to the first five Sikh men to be initiated into the Khalsa.

The movement is one of many global demonstrations taking place in solidarity with farmers in India who are currently taking part in the largest organized protests in the world, against three farming laws passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

The farmers — many of whom hail from India’s northern Punjab and Haryana states — are concerned that the laws, which bring corporations into the controlled agricultural sector, will leave them at the mercy of large corporations and will lead to the ultimate loss of their land and livelihood.

Jay Grewal, a direct with Sikhs for Justice, explained to Daily Hive why these protests matter in a Canadian context, especially on International Human Rights Day.

“What we’re finding is that India is not living up to its responsibilities of being a democracy. These bills were passed kind of rough shot through their government, and many people are upset. So why should Canadians care? Canada and Canadians are part of a global village as we say today. Canadians have always been on the forefront of human rights,” he noted.

“And to this day, we’ve taken strong steps against Libya and other countries that violate human rights. We’re no longer an island onto ourselves because the world is not a big place, it’s a village. So what happens in India will impact Canada both economically and on a people-to-people basis.”

The “5 Days for Panjab Kisaan” demonstration will include the following events highlighting the following themes:

  • Day 1 – Day of “Simran” (Remembrance, Reminiscence and Reconciliation) December 10
  • Day 2 – “Seva” (Selfless Service) December 20
  • Day 3 – “Chardi Kala” (Eternal Optimism) December 24
  • Day 4 – “Nirbhau Nirvair” (Without fear, without hate) December 31
  • Day 5 – “Sangat” (Community) January 9, 2021

All protests are set to take place at the Indian consulate in downtown Vancouver.

Today’s demonstrations are set to continue through till late afternoon.

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