California Sikhs to hold caravan and rally in support of farmer protests in India

Protesters are expected to stay in their cars during the caravan and rally to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The sun sets on the San Francisco skyline in a view from Middle Harbor Shoreline Park on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(RNS) — Sikhs activists in California are holding a COVID-19-conscious car and truck rally Saturday (Dec. 5) in solidarity with farmers in India, who are protesting new agricultural measures that favor large corporations.

The caravan and rally has been organized by the Jakara Movement, a nonprofit inspired by Sikh principles based in Fresno.

“The future of Punjab as an agricultural powerhouse and the livelihood of its people remains under dire threat,” said Rajanpreet Kaur of the national Sikh Coalition, which is helping to promote the event. 

Kaur said several hundred vehicles are expected to participate in the caravan and rally.

The caravan will gather at noon in at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland and head to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco via the Bay Bridge. They’ll return to Oakland for a rally at 2 p.m. Pacific time.

Protesters are expected to stay in their cars during the caravan and rally to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In India, many of the protesting farmers are Sikhs from northern Punjab and Haryana, two of the largest farm states in India, according to the Associated Press.

The farmers fear laws passed in September will lead the government to stop buying grain at minimum guaranteed prices and result in corporations pushing down prices to exploitative levels. Many activists and agricultural experts support their demand for a minimum guaranteed price for their crops.

RELATED: Farmers’ protests against India’s new agriculture laws follow long Sikh tradition

Sikh Americans have been an active part of California’s economy and culture for more than 125 years, and many of the 500,000 Sikhs who live in the United States can trace their immediate families back to Punjab, said Kaur.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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