Delhi

Dilli Chalo protest | ‘Farmers have never been this angry with any government before’

Farmers preparing lunch at the Tikri border in Delhi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: SushilKumarVerma

“Farmers have never been this angry with any government before. We are ready to take bullets, but won’t return home till the time the three black laws are repealed. In fact, the farmers are already dead,” says Mitthu Singh (52), reaching the Tikri border at the doorstep of Delhi with hundreds of farmers from Fatehabad in Haryana and parts of Punjab in tractors and trolleys on Friday in response to the call for “Dilli Chalo” by farmers groups.

As he gears up to cook the first meal of the day with fellow farmers after a round of fierce face-off with Delhi Police, others join the conversation.

Dilli Chalo protest | Prepared to stay for six months, say farmers

‘Lost trust’

“It is the most dictatorial government. It is a government for the Ambanis and Adanis. They have sold everything — from railways to airports — to them,” chips in Buta Singh, 32, also from Fatehabad. He says that people in many villages in Fatehabad had put banners outside their villages, asking political leaders not to enter. “We will groom our own people to contest elections next time,” he says.

Hakam Singh, 55, also part of the group, adds that his ancestors toiled hard on the land to make it fertile and they were engaged in agriculture for generations. “We cannot give our land to corporates on lease. We cannot be labourers on our own land,” adds the elderly, donning a black turban with a flowing white beard.

Parked haphazardly for almost a kilometre from the Tikri border till Pandit Shree Ram Sharma metro station in Bahadurgarh and beyond, many tractors had green and red flags tied in the front bearing the names of different farmers’ unions inscribed in Gurmukhi. Almost all trolleys were blanketed with tarpaulin or covers made of plastic fertiliser bags sewn together, keeping in view the falling mercury.

‘Well-stocked’

To make their travel comfortable through the bumpy roads and keep themselves warm, many had their trolleys padded with rice straw before putting mattress on them. “We are carrying flour, potatoes, spices, utensils and cooking gas cylinders. A few trolleys carry woods to be used as a fuel and there is a water tanker with a capacity of around 5,000 litres,” says Paramjit Pradhan, 60, adding that they could sustain themselves for months. “I have fought for the farmers for four decades. I have been a comrade [a communist],” he proudly proclaims, holding a red flag. Many also carried small stairs to enable the elderly members to climb up and down the trolleys. Some cars were also part of the convoy that was first to reach Delhi.

Shringar Singh (70) says that they have been travelling for two days to reach Delhi from Moga in Punjab and broke through at least half-a-dozen barricades.

“The Haryana police tried to stop us with water cannons and tear gas. They had dug up roads, put barbed wires and parked punctured trucks to block our way. But we managed to overcome all hurdles. The Delhi police, however, were the most fierce in their attempt to stop us,” says Sukhwant Singh (42).

Pyara Singh, 74, says that no one wants to leave the comfort of their home and step outside, especially at his age, but they were compelled to march to Delhi. “Agar phasal hi rul gayi toh kya bachega [If our crops are ruined, nothing will be left],” says Pyara, summing it up.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 2:02:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/dilli-chalo-protest-farmers-have-never-been-this-angry-with-any-government-before/article33196811.ece

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