Dilli Chalo | Protesters echo calls for peace

At the Delhi-Haryana’s Singhu border, farmers protesting against the newly enacted farm laws called for peace, irrespective of the outcome of the talks with the government. “We have to remain calm and maintain peace, no matter what. This is how we’ll win our fight,” said one of the many speakers on stage, a sentiment that came to be repeated over and over again.

Also read: No breakthrough at farmers’ talks with govt; protests to continue

To ensure that farmers do not cross over to the police side, a damaged barbed wire was erected and a human chain was formed. “We don’t want anyone to bring a bad name to our protest. Someone outside will create problems, but we’ll be defamed,” said 17-year-old Simranjeet Singh, a resident of Patiala, who was among those in the human chain.

All the farmers The Hindu spoke to were of the opinion that peace should be maintained as it has been since Saturday. “We’ll get what we want, but through peaceful means. Our fight is with the government. The officials behind those barricades are also our brothers,” said Harjeet Singh, 31, a farmer from Jalandhar.

Harvinder Singh, 32, said the government eventually would have to bend. “This is the first such protest in decades that is seeing lakhs of people camping together for days on end. We are being talked about all over the world,” he said.

On the FIR registered against them, the protesters said they were prepared for more. “It only shows that the government is shaken and wants to scare us. But our community is not one that is easily scared,” said Ranjeet Singh, a resident of Bhatinda. “Some people are trying to defame us by calling us Khalistanis, to divert attention from the reason for our protest. We are, were and will always be Indians,” said Mr. Harjeet.

Students also join

Students from the University of Delhi’s (DU) Punjabi Department joined the protests in solidarity with the farmers. They carried posters, some of which featured women farmers. “Most women who are protesting here are not leading the agitation and are busy cooking, which is not how it should be,” said Sangeeta, who is pursuing a certificate course.

Rajveer Kaur, who is pursuing a PhD from DU, said her parents were labourers in Bhatinda. “It affects us directly because if farmers are affected, so are the labourers,” she said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:29:09 AM |

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