InSAF India solidarity statement
31 Jan 2021
We condemn the Indian state’s actions to discredit the farmers’ protest movement as being misinformed and misled towards other vested political agendas, ranging from Maoism to Khalistan, in particular on the occasion of India’s Republic Day when the farmers took out a peaceful tractor parade with due police permission. The farmers have rejected any links to the group that reached the Red Fort and planted a religious flag there even as police in the vicinity were seen to be quietly watching.
The farmers who are protesting today are part of a broader egalitarian movement for social and ecological justice. They are supported by farmers and social justice activists across the globe. Many protesting farmers have said that their demands are tied to the concerns of the scholar-activists and students who remain incarcerated under the draconian UAPA. In a growing climate of fear and binary thinking, it is easy for the Indian government to label anyone who opposes their so-called agricultural or education reforms, land displacement and mega-development projects as ‘Maoist’.
Such misdirections are intended to draw public attention away from the fact that it’s the extremist, neo-liberal state itself that is encroaching upon people's lands and plundering India’s natural resources. These misdirections are enthusiastically supported by the elite corporate media, which actively invisibilize their own role in the violence being unleashed against the protesting farmers, even as they glorify India’s military.
As an international network supporting academic freedom in India, we emphasise the importance of independent print and online media platforms and the necessity to take seriously the demands of the farmers, which are substantiated by long-standing research.
We stand with the farmers in calling for the withdrawal of the farm bills. We demand the repeal of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the immediate release of all arrested citizens.