Back to News

Indian community holds drive-by rally in solidarity with protesting farmers

Reference: CBC News

Blaring car horns disrupted the Sunday calm of Ottawa's Beechwood neighbourhood as hundreds of people protested against controversial agricultural reforms in India.

The vehicle convoy took off from the parking lot of the RA Centre on Riverside Drive and drove down the Vanier Parkway before passing the High Commission of India building on Beechwood Avenue — where drivers slowed down to honk and shout their support for India's farmers.

The protest was in solidarity with tens of thousands of farmers who have been camped out on the outskirts of the Indian capital, New Delhi, for the past six weeks. The farmers are demonstrating against three laws the Indian parliament passed in September with little consultation or deliberation.

"What we are trying to do is we are trying to show our support to the farmers who are protesting in India for the last 44 or 45 days," said Kanwar Hazrah, one of the protest organizers. "This is not just unfair. I think it's unjust as well."

The new laws would loosen rules governing India's farming industry, allowing farmers to set their own prices and sell their crops to private businesses. Until now, they've sold their crops directly to the government at guaranteed minimum prices.

While the Indian government hopes to spur private investment and growth, farmers worry the lack of a minimum price for crops like wheat — and an expanded role for corporations — will push profits down.

'Everything's in danger'
Many who took part in Sunday's protest, like Mahtab Dhaliwal, have family members in India who farm.

"We have seen our parents, grandparents out in the farms and so we really feel the pain now that everything's in danger," said Dhaliwal.

Dhaliwal said she's part of a rotating group of Ottawa residents who have been protesting outside the commission building every day for the last eight days, with some staying overnight... Read More