Crowds coming back to Singhu protest site after harvest season

Farmers at the Singhu border said the protest is going strong amidst the raging pandemic as crowds are coming back to the site following the harvesting season.

Sukwinder Singh Barwa from Ropar said the crowd became half of the initial strength during the harvest season, but people are starting to come back.

“A group with over 250 tractors and trucks reached on May 10 while another group arrived on May 12,” he said.

Guramrit Mehma from Ferozabad, who was at the protest site till recently, is at home now. He hasn’t been able to come to the site as there’s a lockdown in Haryana. “The COVID situation in Delhi is bad. Even if we want to go, we can’t because of the lockdown,” he said.

Mr. Barwa added that if people come in groups, they are not being stopped. “The COVID situation is bad, but for some reason, people at the protest are not getting infected. While we all take precautions, the older generation still doesn’t believe in it. They don’t keep washing hands and use sanitisers. Some of them wrap their head scarfs around their nose and mouth,” he said.

While the main langars continue to be organised, the speeches at the main stage now stop at 3 p.m. “After that, there is a break for two hours before religious chantings of all faiths continue,” said Parminder Singh from Ludhiana. The stir site on Friday also saw Muslim protesters offering Eid prayers.

Mr. Singh added that there is “no question” of protest coming to a stop at any point unless a solution in their favour is reached. “The BJP’s rule can end but not this protest till the demands are met,” he said.

‘For next few years'

People at the protest sites continue to make concrete structures for their lodging. “It looks like they won’t leave for the next few years,” he said.

Kamaljeet Singh from Patiala said: “About 450 farmers have died and a pandemic is going on. But the government doesn’t wish to start a dialogue with us. We will soon be completing six months here.”

Referring to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s appeal to farmers to end the protest and saying that a few villages have become COVID hotspots due to the protesting farmers, Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Friday, said: “Instead of introspecting about his administration’s failure in setting up adequate healthcare facilities and services in the state, he chose to blame farmers. The SKM condemns his statement and points out that the protests have remained largely free of the pandemic.”

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 3:08:05 AM |

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