BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Far from home, but staying close in spirit, local farmers here in Bakersfield showed their support for farmers protesting all the way in India and nearly a year later, they have a reason to rejoice.
In September 2020, the Indian government introduced three farm bills that would put corporations in charge of setting rates and owning land. Farmers in India felt this was unfair, so early this year, they started protesting and in solidarity with them, local farmers in Bakersfield started protesting as well and a few weeks ago, the prime minister announced the bills would be repealed marking a major victory for the country’s farmers.
It’s a reason to rejoice because farmers in India who were protesting laws that could take away their land or reduce the price of their crops, were heard by the government, almost a year later.
“Thanks, Indian government and thanks for supporters, all farmers,” said local farmer, Jobanjit Singh.
It wasn’t an easy road to get there.
“We lose a lot of my farmers over there, on the street doing the protest,” said Jobanjit.
Not just in India, but even farmers in Bakersfield wanted to show their support for the ones back home.
“We were sitting over here from nine months also, in support of the protest in India,” said local farmer, Simranjit Singh Deol.
Local farmers and members of the community gathered at the Park at River Walk for a few hours every weekend.
“Everybody over here is a businessman or doing a job so everybody contributed their time, their family time over here in the protest,” said Singh Deol.
Though they couldn’t physically be back in India, they know the struggle and wanted the farmers protesting there to know they are not alone.
“I know how tough it is if the corporate world takes over and what would happen if somebody else puts a price on our hard-earned work that we put in, day-by-day basis,” said local farmer, Simran Panu.
It was all about communities rallying together to help make a difference.
“Everybody came to join with us at the protest,” said local farmer Rajpal Singh.
But the fight isn’t over yet. The farmers said they will keep protesting here as long as their counterparts back home are fighting too.
“Back in India, when they are going back to home, then we probably can stop right here,” said Jobanjit.
It’s not just this time, but they said they’ll be here to help any cause and any community that needs support.
“So anytime there is an injustice in this world, we, the people of Bakersfield, we will do the protest,” said Singh Deol.