New Delhi: because the farmer agitation against the centre’s three farm laws enters its hundredth day on Saturday, union leaders have asserted that their movement is way from over and that they are “going strong”.
The marathon movement has sent out a message of unity, made “farmers visible once again” and brought them back on the political landscape of the country, they said on Friday.
For over three months, the three Delhi border points at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur have transformed into townships occupied by thousands of farmers from different parts of the country, mainly Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh .
To mark the completion of hundred days, March 6 are going to be observed as ‘Black Day’ as a part of which the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway are going to be blocked for five hours, consistent with a press release from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a coalition of protesting farmer unions.
Rakesh Tikait of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said they’re prepared to continue the protest as long because it is required.
“We are completely prepared. Unless and until the govt listens to us and meets our demands, we’ll not move from here,” Mr Tikait, who is among the leaders at the forefront of the movement, told press agency PTI.
Despite several rounds of talks between the govt and therefore the farmer unions, the 2 sides have did not reach an agreement, and therefore the farmers have refused to budge until the three laws are repealed.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws are projected by the centre as major reforms within the agriculture sector which will remove the middlemen and permit farmers to sell their produce anywhere within the country.
The protesting farmers, on the opposite hand, have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the security cushion of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and do away with the mandi (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of massive corporates.
While a resolution was reached on two of the four demands — rollback of rise in power tariff and penalties for stubble burning — in January, a choice on repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for MSP continues to be stuck in limbo.
However, consistent with the farmer leaders, the movement has achieved much beyond the immediate scope of the protest. it’s evoked nationwide unity among farmers also as recognised the contribution of girls in farming.
Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India said, “The movement has brought the farmers back on the political landscape of this country. it’s made farmers visible once more . it’s taught every politician a lesson — to not take ‘panga’ with the farmers.”
“People wont to take farmers without any consideration but this movement has shown that stepping into a confrontation with farmers is expensive business,” the activist-political told PTI.
The fight against the laws was one cause that appeared to have resonated with an outsized number of farmers throughout the state , cutting across religious and caste barriers .
“It has united farmers like never before. Haryana and Punjab farmers are united. Despite deep attempts at communal mobilisation in UP, Hindu and Muslim farmers are united during this protest. Gujjars and Meenas are united in Rajasthan,” Mr Yadav said.
Kavitha Kuruganti of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee agreed and added the movement had proven very “constructive” socially also .
“The farmers movement has got to be assisted on multiple levels. there’s a really important but limited agenda of securing our four demands, but beyond that’s the difficulty of what the farmers movement has been ready to achieve as larger outcomes,” she said.
“In Punjab, socially…things like drug abuse , alcoholism then on have come down because the youth are constructively engaged within the movement,” she said.
She added that the movement had also “reinforced the identity of girls farmers”. “Women farmers are ready to assert themselves and make their presence and participation felt,” she said.
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the protesting men will fork over charge of managing the protest sites to their female counterparts.
“The stage management are going to be taken care of by women only. Besides, the spokesperson for the farmer movement for that specific day will all be women,” said Avtar Singh Mehma of the Krantikari Kisan Union.
Continuing the movement over such an extended period has not been barren of any setbacks. one among the main setbacks that the movement faced was the violence during the January 26 tractor parade.
“There’s been the setback of January 26, when all farmers were portrayed as violent ‘khalistanis’ then on. The image that was there of the protest before the 26th was intentionally maligned by the police and therefore the government,” Ms Kurugranthi alleged.
She added they need also had to “fend off multiple attacks from the govt , including supplies being cut, and locals being provoked against the protestors”.
Prepared for the end of the day , protesting farmers in the least the borders have already started gearing up to beat the Delhi summer by equipping their trolleys with air conditioners, coolers and farmers. Arrangements for better and steady supply of water also are being made.