In November 2020, protesters from the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and elsewhere traveled to the outskirts of Delhi, India to protest three farm laws that would worsen the already harsh ecological and economic conditions in which they live. These farmers, seeking only to demonstrate peacefully and defend their livelihoods, were met first with dismissal–and then with violence and repression–from the Indian government. The crackdown included tear gas, water cannons, baton charges, internet and resource shutdowns, censorship of journalists, the arrest and detention of activists, and concerted efforts from government leaders and state-aligned media to portray the protestors as terrorists.
This movement directly affects a majority of the global Sikh population, and the Sikh Coalition stands with Sikhs across the United States and around the world in solidarity with these farmers as they continue to advocate for their rights, dignity, and justice. Accordingly, the Sikh Coalition undertook several advocacy approaches to raise awareness and spur action on this issue, including direct outreach to elected and appointed policymakers, supporting sangats’ initiatives to raise awareness, and engaging with press to encourage coverage of this historic movement.
- million farmers protesting
- 6,700+ community members contact Congress
- 17 U.S. states hold demonstrations
- We mobilized more than 6,700 community members and allies across the country to send nearly 20,000 messages to their elected officials in Congress asking them to support the farmers’ right to peacefully protest and denounce the Indian government’s anti-democratic behavior.
- We provided draft resolution language to sangats so that they could engage local lawmakers on the issue.
- We sent multiple letters to members of Congress and the Biden Administration, which you can read below.
- We sent a letter denouncing India’s detention of reporters covering the farmers’ protest and continual internet shutdowns at protest sites, recruiting international press freedom organizations to join the effort.
- We spoke out against Twitter’s decision to aid and abet the Indian government’s censorship of dissent.
- We facilitated media hits, assisted with reporting, or placed op-eds with NowThis, JUS Punjabi, NPR, NBC, Reuters, The Guardian, The Takeaway, the Seattle Times, and NBC THINK.
- We provided media support to sangats holding their own solidarity events, including rallies and caravans in San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC; and Oklahoma City, OK.
Advocacy Work: Read the Letters
Read the letters we sent to U.S. elected officials about this issue:
- December 3, 2020 letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- December 3, 2020 letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee
- December 3, 2020 letter to the members of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus
- January 21, 2021 letter to President Biden
- January 27, 2021 follow-up letter to President Biden
- March 4, 2021 follow-up letter to U.S. Department of State
Read the letters that U.S. elected officials sent as a result of our and other Sikh organizations’ direct outreach efforts:
- December 4, 2020 letter from Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- December 11, 2020 letter from Senator Robert Menendez to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- December 23, 2020 letter from Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and Congressman David Trone (D-MD) to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
- December 24, 2020 speech from Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI) on the floor of the House of Representatives (The Sikh Coalition applauds Seva4Everybody‘s work on this strong speech)
- January 15, 2021 letter from Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- February 18, 2021 letter from Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY)
- February 23, 2021 letter from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- March 5, 2021 letter from Congressman Josh Harder (D-CA) to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu
- March 17, 2021 letter from Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin
- March 18, 2021 letter from Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to Secretary of State Antony Blinken