Tribune News Service
Singhu/Tikri/Hisar/Ambala, January 29
The emotional appeal of Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait has given a ‘fuel’ to farmers’ agitation which witnessed a fall in numbers following the Red Fort incident during the January 26 tractors parade.
Hundreds of farmers from Hisar, Bhiwani, Kaithal, Jind, Sonepat and Panipat districts rejoined the protest sites at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders with enthusiasm.
On National Highway-44, several farmers are headed towards Delhi borders on their tractors.
“The farmers have been coming to Tikri from various villages of Rohtak and Jind districts since last night as rumours of farmers going back are being spread by the BJP supporters to weaken the agitation,” said Virender Hooda, a farmer leader camping at Tikri.
He claimed a large number of farmers would reach Tikri by the evening. Many had already reached Ghazipur border, he added.
“Tikait episode at Ghazipur border has created a sense of sympathy among the people of Haryana hence it is the main reason behind the returning of farmers to the protest sites,” said a farmer leader.
As the video of Rakesh Tikait went viral on the social media, the farmers in Kungar village of Hisar district, Kandela of Jind district started gathering in their respective villages. The protesters blocked the Jind-Chandigarh highway passing through their village for about two hours. Later, riding on tractors, hundreds of farmers formed ‘jathas’ and started moving to Tikri border from Jind district.
Farmers from Masoodpur, Data, Sarsod, Bichpari, Ladwa, Satrod, Chainat, Ramayan, Bhagana have also left to join the dharna at the Tikri border.
In Bhiwani district, farmers started moving to Delhi and UP borders last night
Farmers have also started heading towards Singhu border.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (Charuni) district vice president Gulab Singh said: “After the fresh directions from the union leaders, we have asked the farmers to reach Delhi in maximum numbers. Farmers’ movement is getting stronger and we will not let the government forcefully remove us.”
After the state government attempted to get the toll plazas vacated, the numbers of farmers at the toll plazas have also increased.
“The government wants us to vacate the toll plazas and police officials have also reached here for the same but we have made them clear that the tolls will remain free till the three black laws are not withdrawn”, said Gulab.
Khap meetings at night to strategise
Several villages in Kaithal, Jind, Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Rohtak districts held meetings on Thursday night to strengthen the agitation.
The Kandela khap, which has been at the forefront of leading the farmers agitation in past, have called a mahapanchayat on Friday to chalk out the next strategy to strengthen the ongoing agitation.
According to reports, local khap panchayats, including the Phogat khap, Sangwan khap, Barah khap, have also called meeting on Friday in their respective areas of influence to mobilize support to the stir.
Government conspiracy to malign us: Farmers
Farmers blame the government for ‘hatching conspiracy’ to defame the farmers’ protest. Farmers also blamed television news channels alleging that the media is hand in glove with the government to malign the image of the farmers.
The Sanyukta Kisan Morcha has already condemned the incident that took place at Ghazipur border and blamed a political party for trying to defame the agitation.
“The government’s intention to torpedo the agitation by resorting to cheap tactics and using force have been exposed,” said a farmer.
“It was the conspiracy of the government to defame the farmers’ stir, but the people of the country are well aware of this conspiracy and they will give a reply to the government with a large gathering to strengthen the stir,” said Ajay Kumar, a farmer from Kaithal while heading towards Delhi border.
A farmer in Kandela village said that the BJP government has hatched a conspiracy against the farmers and they will not let this conspiracy succeed.
“I was a supporter of the ruling BJP-JJP government in Haryana. But the attempt to suppress the agitation has instilled a new lease of life in the agitation. We have not waited for the morning and started the journey to Delhi by around midnight,” said Surender, a young farmer of Kandela village.
Thousands of protesting farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh demanding the rollback of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.