Braving the morning winter chill, hundreds of Punjab’s farmers on Friday started gathering at Amritsar’s ‘Golden Gate’ with a resolve to reach New Delhi to strengthen the agitation against Centre’s new agriculture laws.
Agitated over the Centre’s “indifferent” attitude towards their demand of revoking the laws, and the Haryana government’s restrictions imposed on entry from Punjab, farmers here are in no mood to relent as they believe that their ongoing agitation is not just for themselves but for future generations.
The farmers say their battle has just begun and the government at the Centre should be under no false impression that it will be over soon. Clad in a a typical Punjabi kurta-pyjama set with a green turban adorning his head, 67-year-old Sukhwinder Singh is anguished over the BJP-led Centre not listening to farmers’ concerns.
“Our fellow farmers have reached Delhi and we are on the way. The Haryana government is trying to stop us with force. Let them try whatever they can, we are even ready to face bullets. We will reach Delhi no matter what happens,” he says.
Sexagenarian Balkar Singh of Manga Sarai village says, “Until our voice is heard we will continue to lay siege to Delhi. It’s a fight not just for ourselves but for future generations. If I don’t put a fight today, I won’t be able to face my kids and their kids. We will ensure that our ‘dharna’ continues without fail. For this 20-25 people from one village will go in batches to spend around 20 days in Delhi. Once they come back, another set of farmers will go.”
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Undeterred by the restrictions imposed by the Haryana government on entering the State, scores of farmers from the Majha region of the State have started to move towards Delhi on tractor-trolleys, cars and two-wheelers and are expecting to enter Haryana by Saturday morning even as Haryana police have deployed heavy security and barricaded the key highways.
The enthusiasm to participate in the protest is alike among the elders and the youth, who are prepared to fight ‘a long battle’ against the Centre.
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Navtej Singh, a 15-year-old school student, says he is going with his father to Delhi as he strongly believes that the new laws are against the farming community. “I’ll stay in Delhi as long as it’s required.. When my school opens I’ll come back but will go again if needed. I am with my family and farmers in their battle. If I don’t fight for our cause today, then who will?” he asks.