Protesters reiterate demand to repeal farm laws

Stir at Singhu border about to enter ninth month; farmers ready lists to ensure Jantar Mantar rally isn’t breached by miscreants

Published - July 22, 2021 12:39 am IST - NEW DELHI

A farmer inside a damaged temporary shelter at the Singhu border site in Delhi on Wednesday.

A farmer inside a damaged temporary shelter at the Singhu border site in Delhi on Wednesday.

Five days short of completing eight months at the Singhu border, protesting farmers on Wednesday reiterated their stance of not leaving the site unless the three farm laws are repealed.

With a protest scheduled at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, organisers said that lists of farmers had already been prepared and identity cards made to ensure their protest isn’t breached by “miscreants.”

Farmers from the Capital’s neighbouring States have been stationed at the city’s borders for the last several months demanding a complete repeal of the three controversial agriculture laws brought in by the Centre last year.

Roldu Singh, fro m Punjab’s Mansa district said, “Around 200 farmers will go to Jantar Mantar on Thursday. Lists have been drawn up to decide who all will be attending the protest there and identity cards have also been distributed. There will be farmers from the various unions. People are going to assemble at the Singhu border and will travel in designated buses.”

“Even after all of these preparations from our side, outsiders and miscreants breach our protest and some mishap takes place, then the onus cannot be on us,” said Mr . Singh.

Rain adds to woes

With incessant rains over the past few days, several of the makeshift houses and langar tents were damaged and farmers were seen rebuilding the structures.

Ajeetpal Singh, a farmer from Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib district said, “Every time it rains heavily or there is a storm, there is bound to be damage as the rainwater starts entering our structures. Even this time there were leakages, the bamboo structures broke and several of the tents also came off. We will have to purchase everything again and set it up. But we are here in service of humanity so we will continue doing so no matter what the hurdle is.”

Langars affected

The rain has also affected the langars that have been at the forefront in feeding the thousands of farmers at the borders, in the past several months. Manjeet Singh, a volunteer at one of the langars at the border said, “Over the last few days, there have been heavy rains and we have tried to save as much of the raw materials possible. Despite that we lost a lot of it as well. The tarpaulin sheets gave in due to the incessant showers and now it is a matter of great expense also to rebuild the entire thing. We have to now wait for people from our village in Punjab to come to the border with all the material. As of now we have stored the remaining ration in our trolleys.”

Avtar Singh Mehlno, another farmer added, “I have been at the border since Day 1 and have not gone home at all. The rain have of course done some damage, but we are farmers and we know how to handle these situations. The agitating farmers are equally dedicated to the movement and we are going to overcome all hurdles. We will continue with our movement no matter what and the three farm laws have to be repealed.”

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