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दिल्ली: प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी से हरियाणा के मुख्यमंत्री मनोहर लाल ने की मुलाकात, अहम विषय पर हुई चर्चाहरियाणा के मुख्यमंत्री मनोहर लाल ने आज रेवाड़ी 350 करोड़ की 19 परियोजनाओं का किया उद्घाटनहरियाणा:IG भारती अरोडा का इस्तीफा सरकार ने मंजूर कर लियाहरियाणा विधानसभा के अध्यक्ष ज्ञानचंद गुप्ता ने सभी देशवासियों को राष्ट्रीय संविधान दिवस की हार्दिक बधाई एवं शुभकामनाएं। राष्ट्रीय संविधान दिवस के अवसर पर आइये हम सभी राष्ट्रीय नैतिक मूल्यों के साथ - साथ अपनी संस्कृति को संजोये रखने का संकल्प लें।पीएम के साथ सीएम की मीटिंग आज:किसान आंदोलन और मंत्रिमंडल विस्तार पर चर्चा संभव, दोपहर रेवाड़ी से दिल्ली होंगे रवाना, तीन बजे के बाद होगी मुलाकातहरियाणा सरकार ने राज्य कोविड-19 के कारण हुई मृत्यु के मामलों में मृतक के परिजनों को 50 हजार प्रति केस के अनुसार अनुग्रह सहायता प्रदान करने के लिए अंत्योदय सरल पोर्टल पर ऑनलाइन सेवा शुरू कीहरियाणा:कैबिनेट में शीत कालीन सत्र बुलाने पर फैसले लिए गए, 17 दिसंबर को 2 बजे बुलाया जाएगा शीत कालीन सत्र:कंवरपाल गुज्जर, हरियाणा के शिक्षा मंत्रीहरियाणा के मुख्यमंत्री मनोहर लाल की अध्यक्षता में मंत्रिमंडल की बैठक शुरू हुई

A month on, farmers await passage to Delhi

January 13, 2021 05:18 AM


A month on, farmers await passage to Delhi
Protesters have made the protest site a home of sorts, with their tractors, trolleys and makeshift tarpaulin tents adorning the national highway

Around 25- 30 farmer groups have been protesting at the Haryana-Rajasthan border since December 13. PARVEEN KUMAR/HT PHOTOS

An informal network connecting the protesters with their village makes sure that essential supplies
Sadia Akhtar

Gurugram : Hundreds of farmers from Haryana and Rajasthan arrived at Shahjahanpur on National Highway-8 on December 13 last year with the intent of proceeding towards Delhi. Stopped by the Rewari Police from entering Haryana, the farmers hunkered down and started a sit-in protest, which has evolved into a mass movement of sorts over the past month. With their tractors, trolleys and makeshift tarpaulin tents, the highway has become the new home, say protesting farmers.

Around 25- 30 farmer groups and organisations have been protesting at the Haryana border. While it is difficult to give an estimate of the total number of farmers at the site, farmer leaders said that presently, there are no fewer than 5,000 protesters and the number is increasing on a daily basis.

Sohni Singh Punia, a 58-year-old farmer from Sikar in Rajasthan, is among the women protesting at the border since December. “We are used to working in our farms under harsh conditions. If the laws are not repealed, we will move towards Delhi, but won’t go home,” said Punia, who was sitting on a 24-hour hunger strike along with 10 others on Monday.

What the farmers want

Like their counterparts agitating on the Delhi borders, farmers here have been protesting against the three new farm laws, which were passed by the Centre in September last year.

They fear that the new laws will leave them vulnerable to exploitation by corporations and end the minimum support price (MSP) for important crops by reducing the scope of the state-run market yards, known as the agricultural produce marketing committees (APMCs) or the so-called mandis. While the government has assured farmers that both the MSP and AMPCs will continue, farmers have stuck to their demands and want the laws to be repealed.

Baldev Singh Mann, a 62-year-old farmer from Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, said that farmers were prepared for the long haul and won’t back down. “We will return only after convincing the government. The government should kill us directly if it wants. If these laws are implemented, we will die anyway,” said Mann.

Managing essentials

An informal network of sorts connects the protesting farmers with their families back home, which ensures that supplies are replenished from time to time. These supplies keep the multiple langars or community kitchens running at the site.

Manjeet Singh, a young farmer, who reached the protest site with a truck of supplies from Patiala on Monday, has made six such trips during the past month. The current batch of supplies had been bought from contributions made by residents of three villages in Patiala, Singh said, while unloading packs of bottled water. “Everyone in the village contributes towards the supply. NRIs from our villages also crowdfund towards the supplies,” he said.

Farmers from nearly all states protesting here have set up a mechanism for the supply of essentials. While trips from Punjab are weekly or fortnightly, farmers from Haryana and Rajasthan get supplies after a day or two. The nature of crowdsourcing also differs from village to village. “Back in our village, containers have been placed at every crossing. Every house contributes 2-4 litres of milk and lassi depending on their capacity. Once the collections are combined, they are dispatched here. Every alternate day, we receive 500 litres of milk and lassi each,” said Mintu Ram, a farmer from Bhivani in Rajasthan.

Countering government allegations

Brushing aside the claims of government representatives, Ram said that farmers from Haryana were united in the struggle against the three laws. In the past, Haryana government has claimed that farmers from Haryana were not participating in the movement in big numbers. The BJP-led government in the state has also raked up the issue of the construction of SYL (Sutlej-Yamuna Link) canal— a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana. Ram and his fellow farmers from Haryana said that they could see through the intentions of the government.

“The BJP government has been in power for the past six years. In all these years, they did nothing to resolve the SYL impasse. They are now trying to create differences between farmers but they will not succeed. What will we do with water if our land is not safe? We will talk to our brothers in Punjab ourselves,” he said. His friend, Raj Kumar, nodded in agreement.

When asked about the concerns of the farmers, Jawahar Yadav, BJP spokesperson, said that the three laws were for the betterment of farmers and the party would continue to take steps in the interests of farmers. “The work that we are doing for the betterment of farmers will continue. The BJP will continue to make efforts to make farmers understand the various benefits of the three farm laws,” said Yadav, adding that the party is presently deliberating on the recent Supreme Court’s decision to put the implementation of the farm laws on hold.

Daily chores

Besides food supplies, farmers also send back their unwashed clothes on alternate days. While there’s a washing machine at the site, it’s not enough to meet the requirements for the hundreds camping at the site. “Along with the supplies, we return our unwashed clothes and get a set of washed clothes,” said Kumar.

“There is a team of volunteers who ensure that all of us stay safe at night. We don’t face many difficulties here,” said Sheetal Kanwar, a 17-year-old, who is protesting at the site with her family. “We have forged many relationships here. Even this place has begun to feel like home,” she said.

The protesting farmers plan to proceed towards Delhi on Republic Day. They said that the Supreme Court’s decision of staying the laws will not have any impact on their plans and that the agitation will continue until the government repeals the three laws

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