US Cong welcomes Centre's efforts to talk to farmers

US Congressman welcomes Indian govt's efforts to engage with protesting farmers

A US Congressman has hailed the Indian government's efforts to engage with the protesting farmers to "ensure" that the legislation reflects their input and interests as well.

India has called the remarks by foreign leaders and politicians on protests by farmers as "ill-informed" and "unwarranted", asserting that the matter pertains to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

Addressing the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, Congressman Andy Levin said it is heartening to watch democracy in action in India and the popular support the farmers' movement is garnering throughout the nation and the global Indian diaspora.

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“While I believe the Indian government should have consulted meaningfully with farmers before passing these laws, I welcome their efforts to engage with the protestors to ensure that legislation that affects these communities reflects their input and interests as well,” Levin said.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and several other states have been protesting on various borders of Delhi since November 26, seeking repeal of three farm laws enacted in September.

Dubbing these laws as "anti-farmer", these farmers claim that the newly enacted legislation would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

There have been multiple rounds of talks between representatives of the protestors and the Indian government but the logjam continues.

Levin, who serves as the US Representative for Michigan's 9th congressional district, also expressed concerns over reports of violence against peaceful protesters.

"On behalf of my constituents who represent the vibrant Indian diaspora community and have rallied in support of these farmers, I call on the Indian government to respect the vital right to peaceful protest and to engage in good-faith talks to ensure farmers’ livelihoods are preserved," the Democratic lawmaker said.

Levin said as a longtime union organiser, he supports these farmers, whose hard work has earned Punjab the moniker of "India's bread basket". 

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