An advertisement highlighting the farmers’ protest in India was aired right before the Super Bowl 2021 telecast in California’s Fresno city on Sunday. The Super Bowl, the annual championship of the National Football League in the US, is among the country’s biggest sporting events.
The video claims that the farmers’ agitation as “the largest protest in history” and features photographs and video snippets of farmers who have been protesting on Delhi’s borders since November 2020 in an attempt to have the new farm laws repealed.
The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed in the Indian parliament on September 20. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill was approved in a chaotic voice vote in Rajya Sabha on September 22. The three Bills received President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent on September 27.
According to video editor’s Instagram profile named “Teji Video”, the commercial was scheduled to air between 3 pm and 3.30 pm Fresno time, right before the Super Bowl game began on Sunday.
The video draws attention to the international support that the protest has received, including from pop singer Rihanna. It highlights the fact that many people have lost their lives during the protest, that journalists covering the protest have been arrested, internet access has been cut off, and that there have been accusations of human rights violations.
The advertisement was funded by the Central Valley Sikh community to raise awareness about the farmers’ protests in India, said the Your Central Valley website. Californa’s Central Valley is home to a large Sikh population.
“We are not just concerned about our land only, we are concerned about our people, people who live there who have to put up with those laws which they don’t want to,” Kulvir Sekhon, who still owns land in India, was quoted as saying.
California Congressman David Valadao has extended his support for the farmers’ protest in India, thanking them for “what they’re doing”.