As Sikh farmers took to the streets in the Indian state of Punjab to protest against farm laws, a group of Muslims organised a langar meal for them on September 26. The pictures of the gesture have gone viral on social media and it is setting an example for communal harmony in the country.
The protests took place in the state’s Malerkotla town, where Muslims set up food camps near the locations where the demonstrations were carried out against farm bills passed by the Indian parliament earlier this week.
A langar is referred to a community gathering in a Gurdwara, a Sikh temple, where free meals are served to all visitors.
Many are sharing pictures of the scene and lauding the volunteers for their efforts in supporting the farmers.
Twitter user @kawalpreetdu wrote: “Farmers from Punjab had joined in solidarity with protestors at Shaheen Bagh where Sikh men and women served langar. In Malerkotla, Punjab which has long history of communal harmony, Muslim youth yesterday served the langar to the protesting farmers. This is the model of India.”
Many said that the gesture should be an example for religious tolerance in India.
Tweep @shuja_2006 posted: “The Sikh brothers had arranged 'Langer' in Saheen Bagh. In Punjab, Muslims have arranged the 'Langer’ for farmers, this is India but some people don’t like it.”
During the Citizenship Amendment Act (Bill) protests, which occurred after the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was enacted by the Indian government in December 2019, Sikhs from Punjab had come from their state to Delhi and setup similar camps.
Referring to the help extended by the Sikhs, user @harsh_mander tweeted: “Farmers from Punjab came to Shaheen Bagh to establish a langar in solidarity with their sisters protesting CAA/NRC (National Register of Citizens). Now Muslim youth from Malerkotla serve food in solidarity with protesting farmers of Punjab. With these bonds of love that bind us, India is safe...”
Farmer protests – controversial laws
Protests by farmers against three farm laws are continuing across India. The three farm bills are: The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
The government has said that these bills will allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere they want at a better price. However, many farmers believe that the reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big companies.