New Delhi: To mark the first anniversary of the farmers’ protest movement, thousands of farmers have started gathering on the three protest sites on Delhi’s border—Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri – despite massive security build-up.
In Ghazipur, hundreds of farmers in tractors started arriving, bringing along with them vegetables, sacks of flour and lentils, spices and cooking oil on their tractor-trollies, saying they have come prepared for a long haul, according to a PTI report.
It may be recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced repeal of the three laws, but the farmers are waiting for formalisation of the process during the upcoming Winter session of Parliament.
Also, the farmers collective, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the movement has made it clear that the protests will only be called off once the government brings in a law to guarantee minimum support price (MSP) for all crops and withdraw the Electricity Amendment Bill. The Centre has listed the Electricity Bill for passage in the Winter session, hence the farmers are preparing for another long haul.
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), an influential farmers' union from Western Uttar Pradesh, which is part of SKM, has been leading the charge at the Ghazipur border since November last year.
“It has been a year of unmatched struggle mixed with happiness and sadness. We are fighting and winning. We will fight and win. MSP law is farmers' right,” BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait tweeted in Hindi.
The outfit's office-bearers claimed the police have been strengthening the barricading at Ghazipur border -- both on the Delhi-Meerut elevated highway patch and at the UP Gate down below it -- since Thursday, even as they said the crowd would swell at the protest site by evening Friday
“We have a meeting of the SKM on Saturday and the future course of our action will be decided only after that.
“We have planned a march towards Delhi on November 29, but SKM will take a call about it on Saturday,” BKU spokesperson Saurabh Upadhyay said.
He said, “Supporters in large numbers started reaching the border early Friday morning and by evening we are expecting over 50,000 people at Ghazipur alone.”
A BKU supporter who reached Ghazipur in the morning from Muzaffarnagar on a tractor in a group said they have come to the protest with arrangements for food and accommodation.
“It has been a year, the farmers can continue the protest for their rights for several years,” the villager, draped in a shawl and a muffler, said.
Hundreds of farmers have been encamped at Delhi's Ghazipur, Tikri and Singhu borders since November 26, 2020, with a demand that the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee MSP for crops.
According to media reports, thousands of farmers from Punjab had landed and several others were on the way to the Singhu and Tikri borders. On the way, they were welcomed by farmers from Haryana, who are also reaching the three protest sites.
In Tikri border, Rajendra Singh Deep Singhwala of Kriti Kisan Union , said: "The peasant movement has made the government, which was becoming a dictator, bow down. Germany’s dictator committed suicide admitting his defeat and the dictator of our country (Narendra Modi) conceded his defeat in the media and has committed political suicide. This is the first victory of the movement as it has re-established the values of democracy in the country.”
Sumit Singh, a young farmer, who is secretary of Haryana Kisan Sabha and was present on the Delhi border from day one, said today the farmer had gone back to where he was before the introduction of these laws. “But even today, his questions remain the same. We were demanding guarantee of MSP from the very beginning. That was one of our main demands and it has not been resolved. So, the movement will not end.”
Since the beginning, the farmers movement has drawn support from labourers of Haryana and Punjab. This support still persists and was evident in Tikri, where where many workers had landed up. Jagwanti, 45, who is an ASHA worker in Haryana was there with her entire family. She said she was not a farmer but eats what they grow, so she “was and will always be with them in this movement.”
(With inputs from Mukund Jha, PTI)