(The reporter covered the story with the help of fellow IIJNM colleague, Amna Karimi)
Amidst the pandemic, farmers continue to struggle for their rights, demanding the government scrap the three farm bills.
Samrala: Farmers at the Ghulal Toll Plaza in Ludhiana had planned to burn the effigy of Narendra Modi today as a sign of solidarity with other protesting farmers. Sukhwinder Singh, BKU (Kadian) member, says, “We have been sitting here at this site for the past eight months. The main movement at Delhi has completed six months. We don’t want such a government who doesn’t understand the emotions of its people and forces down our throats, the rules and regulations. We won’t move from this place until the ‘black laws’ are taken back.”
The farmers who have been protesting at the borders of Delhi, UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and many other parts across the country have labelled today it as a ‘Black day’. Protestors believe they have done so to bring attention to the fact that for the last six months they have been out of their homes, away from their families and loved ones (still this government is hell bent in their arrogance to keep their laws intact.)
Jagtar Singh Bhangu, protestor from Khattran village says, “We only want to make the Modi government listen to our sayings and understand them for we will win and continue this struggle as long as it takes.”
Kavitha Kuruganti, the national convener from the Alliance of Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) or Kisan-Swaraj Network said, “If the government doesn’t concede to the demand of farmers, they will be forced to learn a hard lesson because the farmers are not going to retreat. They are going to stay there for however long it takes. For today, farmer unions are fully sensitive to the fact that there is a national emergency and the health infrastructure has collapsed because of this government’s inability. Therefore, it is a black day being marked wherever people are and there is no plan to march to Delhi during this time.”
She further mentions that in a democratic country the government should not get away without fulfilling the demands of these farmers.
K S Dakshina Murthy, a political analyst said, “One of the positive things from the farmers’ side is that they didn’t let it go. It’s just that Covid took away the attention for a while but it is going to be back really soon.”
With this ’Black Day’ today and the continuing series of protests, the farmers’ urge and warn the government to listen to them and fulfil their demands.