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Farm Laws: Punjab and Haryana Gear up to Observe 'Black Day' on May 26

'(Black) Flags of different sizes are being prepared for vehicles, motorcycles, cycles and to be hoisted on rooftops. We will also be placing big black flags at the entry-points to villages and chowks.'
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Preparations are on in full swing in Haryana's Hisar district which is gearing up to commemorate six months of the farmers' ongoing protest at Delhi borders against the Farm Laws on May 26. The withdrawal of an FIR on May 24 against 350 farmers has resulted in renewed hope. Villages in Haryana and Punjab are buzzing with same excitement.

In the villages of Punjab and Haryana, black flags will be placed on the roof and bonnet of cars to express dissatisfaction with the three contentious farm laws. According to Vikas Sisai, State President, Kisan Sangarsh Samiti, over 30,000 farmers from Hisar district alone have left for the Tikri border on Tuesday.

"Between 30,000-40,000 farmers have left for the borders today," he added.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmers' unions had earlier given the call to mark six months of their protest at Delhi;s borders against the three laws. The day will be observed as a 'Black Day' by the farmers unions and the Central Trade Unions.

SKM spokesperson and farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal had appealed to the farmers, their supporters and others to observe the day by raising black flags.

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Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are working together to fuel the movement at Delhi's borders. Women in Danher village of Punjab's Barnala district have been marching in the streets to spread the message. At Bhaini Bagha village in the Mansa-Bathinda region, women were seen sewing black flags. Black turbans will also be sported by the men.

"Flags of different sizes are being prepared for vehicles, motorcycles, cycles and to be hoisted on rooftops. We will also be placing big black flags at the entry-points to villages and chowks. Hundreds of black flags have been sent to the border as well," said Amarjit Kaur, a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) (Dakaunda).

In addition,a dharna will be observed at 108 locations across Punjab including at toll plazas, Reliance-owned petrol pumps, corporate malls, railway parks and at the houses of BJP leaders. Men will be wearing black turbans and women will don black chunnis.

Demonstrations will be held by burning copies of the Farm Laws and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020. "Around 50 to 60 locations in Haryana will observe a dharna. We will also burn effigies of PM Narendra Modi in the villages," added Vikas.

In the 240 villages of Haryana's Jhajjar district, farmers are engaged in making effigies of the PM with them being short of black cloth due to the COVID-19 lockdown. As per Ramachander Yadav of the All India Kisan Sabha, the first thing villagers will do on Wednesday morning is to burn the PM's effigy.

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"The scope of the movement has increased. Trade unions have also joined us. People upset with the Electricty (Amendment) Bill will join us too. We are going to witness a massive protest," Yadav told Newsclick.

In the backdrop of the Centre criticising the farmers' movement and the state governments appealing to them to stay indoors due to the second wave of the pandemic, Balbir Kaur thinks the struggle must go on.

"We are not dismissing COVID-19. We have told all our farmers to wear masks and maintain distance. But this is a question of our livelihoods. If the government is so concerned about us they should repeal the laws and we won't do this," Kaur, a farmer and member of BKU, said.

The leaders have said that the movement will not relent after May 26. "The movement will only be strengthened now. We won't budge till the government doesn't pay heed to our demands," said Yadav.

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