Rep Pramila Jayapal is urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to protect the rights of farmers protesting new laws in India, stressing the impact on the families of Indian and Sikh Americans in the US., reports The Indian Express.
The Democrat from Washington state signed the letter with six other US lawmakers, including Donald Norcross, Brendan F. Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mary Gay Scanlon, Debbie Dingell and David Trone.
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and other Indian states have been protesting for the repeal of three farm laws since November, according to Scroll.
While there has been some communication between protesters and the Indian government, these talks failed to break the deadlock between the two.
The US lawmakers stated in the letter to India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar that these protests impact the Sikh American community as well as Indian Americans who may have links to Punjab.
“Many Indian Americans are directly affected as they have family members and ancestral land in Punjab and are concerned for the well-being of their families in India. In view of this serious situation, we urge you to contact your Indian counterpart to reinforce the United States’ commitment to the freedom of political speech abroad,” the letter reads.
The letter also expressed hopes that the US, as a country familiar with political protests, can aid the Indian government with their current situation.
“As national legislators, we respect the right of the government of India to determine national policy, in compliance with existing law,” the Congress members added. “We also acknowledge the rights of those in India and abroad who are currently protesting peacefully against agricultural laws that many Indian farmers see as an attack on their economic security.”
Jayapal and her fellow members of Congress join numerous other US lawmakers who have spoken on the protests in India.
Earlier this month, several Congressmen and members of the American Sikh Caucus wrote to Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu expressing their support for the protesters.
The Indian government, meanwhile, has dismissed comments from foreign politicians as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted.”
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