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  • Manini Sethi

#SydneySupportingFarmers: CBU Students Protest Against Agricultural Reforms in India.

On 13th December more than two hundred CBU students participated in a peaceful protest against the recent amendments made to the agricultural bill in India which potentially threatens the livelihood of Indian farmers. The new agricultural regulations, which were passed on the 20th of September, aim to privatize the agricultural sector by taking back the government support which Indian farmers had for decades. Previously, Indian farmers sold their produce at government-regulated auctions where a minimum price was guaranteed. With the new laws, the farmers can sell their produce directly to private companies, who they fear may use unfair practices to drive down prices. The recent regulations loosen rules around the sale, pricing, storage, and hoarding of farm produce which Indian farmers feel would hurt their income and might even cause them to lose their ancestral land, which is an integral part of their identity.

Protest against reforms in agricultural laws in India. Sydney, NS. Photo credits: Lovepreet Brar

CBU students, many of whom come from agricultural families in India, organized a rally in Sydney to show their support towards the two-month long farmer protest in India where tens of thousands of farmers traveled hundreds of kilometers to New Delhi, the capital of India.

Photo Credits: Lovepreet Brar

Arsh Deep Singh, one of the organizers of the rally in Sydney, told Caper Times in an interview that the rally was being live-streamed on Facebook where several students and community members showed support. He also added that the rally was conducted keeping in mind the social distancing regulations set by the Government of Nova Scotia and that permission for the rally was taken from authorities beforehand.

Amrinder Singh, President of CBU Students' Union, and Gunny Brar, former President of CBU Students Union, attended the protest and showed their support on social media.

Photo Source: "CBU Indian Community" Facebook group,13th December 2020

Photo Source: "CBU Indian Community" Facebook group,13th December 2020

Alexandra’s Pizza, a popular local pizza shop in Sydney supported the protest by providing free pizzas for lunch to the protestors. They also showed their support for the rally on their social media page.

Photo source: “Alexandra’s Pizza - Sydney River” Facebook Page

The farmer protest in India is no longer just a regional or even national level protest. Families and allies of Indian farmers are organizing protests all over the globe. In Canada alone, there have been multiple protests in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Halifax, and now Sydney. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau showed support for the movement and said that Canadians are ”very worried about their family and friends in Punjab” and that the situation is "concerning". Candian support for the farmer movement is not just based on ethical grounds. Canada is one of the many countries which imports agricultural produce such as rice and pulses from India. In addition to this, Canada is a major hub for investment for agrarian families in India. Jasmeet Singh (name changed for maintaining privacy), a protester from the rally in Sydney tells Caper Times that his family pays his tuition fee from their income which depends on agriculture. “The new agricultural reforms will have a negative impact on my family's income and may limit their capacity to pay my tuition fee, which they were already struggling with."

Pictured (left to right): Navjot Kaur Bagri, Ramandeep Kaur, Jyoti Chaudhary Manpreet, and Kaur Chopra

Pictured (left to right) Munish Nagpal, Gurpreet Kanda, Satveer Atwal, and Jagjeet Singh

If you would like to share your story about how the agricultural reforms in India affected you, please reach out to and get a chance to be featured in our upcoming publication.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization mentioned, including but not limited to, CBU, CBUSU, or any government body.

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