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US Congress’s India Panel Urges Govt To Allow Peaceful Protest By Farmers, Internet Access

Mumbai: The leadership of the powerful Congressional India Caucus has urged the Government of India to ensure that the norms of democracy are upheld and that protesters are allowed to protest peacefully and use the internet, as it discussed the issue of the ongoing farmer’s agitation in the country.

Congress India Caucus co-chairman Congressman Brad Sherman said he called a meeting with his other Republican co-president, Congressman Steve Chabot, and Vice President-Chairman Congressman RO Khanna with India’s ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu regarding farmers demonstrations in India.

Also Read: Farmers’ Chakka Jam: Extensive Barricading At Delhi Borders, Drones, High Alert

This was the first meeting of the largest country-specific caucus, the India Caucus, in the US House of Representatives on this issue.

“I requested the Government of India to ensure that the norms of democracy are maintained and the protesters are allowed to protest peacefully and access the internet and journalists. All friends of India hope that the parties can reach an agreement,” Mr Sherman said.

Congressman Steve Cohen said that India is the largest democracy in the world and free speech is one of the finest hallmarks of democracy.

Also Read: Punjab’s Contract Farming Law Has Provision To Jail Farmers: Tomar

“I am closely watching the #FarmersProtests with concern about potential attacks on freedom of speech including cuts to internet service and state-sponsored violence,” he tweeted.

“The USA and India were built by small farmers, diversity, and democracy. We cannot stray from our shared values,” tweeted Congressman Eric Swalwell.

“India must commit to peace, negotiate with small farmers, restore internet access, and reject discrimination,” he said.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been demanding the repeal of the three central agricultural laws for more than 70 days at Delhi’s three border points – Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur.

Several rounds of negotiations between the government and farmer unions remain deadlocked.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organization of farmers’ unions opposing the agricultural laws, said on Friday that there would be no “blockade jam” in Delhi on February 6, even stating that the country In other parts of the country, farmers will block national and state highways for three hours but in a peaceful manner.

SKM earlier this week announced a nationwide chakka jam on Saturday, stating that farmers would shut down national and state highways for three hours in protest against the Internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities and other issues.

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