Tribune News Service
Bathinda, December 13
It’s almost 7 am on a foggy December morning at the Bathinda railway junction. Hardeep Singh (24), a farmer from Pathrala village in the district, is seated on a bench next to the ticket counter, reading a vernacular newspaper as a flag of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) rests on his shoulder.
Seated across him, wrapped in shawls, 65-year-old Buta Singh from Machhana village and 50-year-old Kuldeep Sharma from Virk Khurd village along with other farmers left from their respective villages even before the dawn struck to reach the station. Buta Singh, while sipping tea to keep the biting cold at bay, is busy discussing the Union Government’s “adamant stance” over the new agricultural laws. Half an hour into their conversation, farmers carrying luggage and flags of their respective unions start converging on the platform to catch the next train to join their counterparts at the Tikri border in Delhi.
Talking to The Tribune, Harmail Singh, a farmer from Bath village and leader of the BKU (Sidhupur) said, “We are going with all arrangements and plan to stay put at the Tikri border until the Centre repeals the new farm laws imposed on us. Hundreds of farmers from Bathinda are leaving for Delhi to take part in the protests on a daily basis.”
A visit by The Tribune team to the city railway station found that a large number of farmers from different villages had converged on the platforms to board the Dainik Express (Sriganganagar to Delhi) to visit the protest venue at the Tikri border on Sunday.
Alluding towards the heavy presence of farmers heading to take part in the agitation, an elated Gursewak Singh (60) said, “The Dainik Express from Bathinda to Delhi has turned into ‘Kisan Express’ now. Resumption of train services has indeed served as an easy mode of transportation for thousands of farmers travelling to and from Delhi borders.”
Holding flags of the BKU (Dakaunda), Gagandeep, Hardeep and Rajbahadur, along with their union members, raised against the Union Government before boarding the train. They said, “Unlike years ago, farmers are now well aware of their condition and can decide for themselves. We will stay put at the protest venue till the Centre repeals the anti-farmer laws.”
Amarinder flays Kejri’s ‘theatrics’
Chandigarh: CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Sunday described his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement of observing a fast on Monday as “theatrics”. Kejriwal has said he would observe a day-long fast on Monday in response to a call given by the farmers protesting against three new farm laws. Singh said the Kejriwal govt had “backstabbed” the farmers by “shamelessly” notifying one of the farm laws on November 23. “And now, they are indulging in theatrics by announcing that they would be sitting on a fast in support of the farmers’ hunger strike, he said. PTI