An Indian Sikh farmer plants paddy cutt
An Indian Sikh farmer plants paddygettyimages

A farmer from the state of Punjab has threatened to take legal action against the Union Agriculture Ministry for using his picture without his consent. The Ministry used one of his pictures on an advertisement in support of new farm policies which the Modi government has proposed recently. Gurpreet Singh of Chandbaja village in Faridkot district has decided to give notice of a few days to remove his photo from the advertisement.

What is the issue?

The issue dates back to 2018 when the government was running a campaign against the stubble burning in Punjab. The ministry used Gurpreet Singh's image taken in 2018, while Gurpreet ploughed the paddy straw and did not burn it, to put together them for wheat sowing in his fields at Chandbhaja. Then Faridkot's deputy commissioner Rajiv Parashar had visited his fields to appreciate the farmer for not burning the stubble. 

"The published photograph was taken in October 2018 when the DC of Faridkot visited my fields as I had not burnt the paddy stubble in my land that year as part of the anti-stubble burning campaign," the New Indian Express quoted him as saying. The farmer who is also an activist further argued that he is completely in opposition to the recent ordnances passed by the Modi government and his picture shown in the advertisement will show him in poor light.  

Delhi pollution

He also said, "I oppose these policies and ordinances, but the ministry has used my old photograph without my approval. I have been projected in poor light. I am ready to give some time to the government to remove my photograph from the advertisement and apologize. Else, I will send a legal notice to the Ministry of Agriculture."

New ordinance anti-farmer

Recently, centre has passed three ordinances including the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance. Farmers union have raised apprehensions that the step would dismantle the Minimum support price system for foodgrain procurement.