Press Release: 17 February 2021

We are becoming increasingly concerned about attempts to misrepresent the Indian Farmers/Agricultural Workers protests against the Farm laws as a communal issue.

The Farmers Protests have wide spread support from various sections of the Indian Community including independent media, legal professionals, academics, consumer groups environmental activists, human right groups and faith organisations. It is simply nonsensical to narrow the protests into a faith based communal divide as was alluded to the BBC2 documentary on the 16th February.

Despite the misinformation emanating from some media outlets and hateful messages from right wing groups the relationship between various sections of the Sikh and Indian communities remain harmonious.

We have good working and community relationships between various communities in UK.

The majority of the people understand that it is a farming industry issue effecting people of all faiths, it is neither a nationalistic nor a communal issue. It is an issue of livelihood which the Farmers Trade Union are leading in a responsible manner through peaceful and democratic processes.

We would hope that future discussions involving development of a strong and sustainable agricultural sector will involve the Farmers and others with genuine regard for the environment, rural cultural heritage, consumers, food safety and welfare of agricultural workers.

We urge the media and particularly the organised IT cells linked to political interests to act responsibly and think long term. Issues will come and go but ability to maintain harmonious communal relationships through difficult periods is a sign of a mature democracy.

Rise in hate crime is not in anyone’s interest as it leaves a residue of resentment and wounds can be difficult to heal.

Cllr Gurdial Singh Atwal
Chair Indian Subcontinent Affairs Committee

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