If numbers matter, then the farmers protesting over the Centre’s three contentious laws have been able to muster enough strength at Delhi’s borders. Significant presence was also marked in adjacent states of Haryana, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. But after eight-and-a-half months of sit-ins, their standoff with the government shows no sign of abating.
On Sunday, the umbrella of unions, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), marked the country’s 75th Independence Day as “Kisan Mazdoor Azaadi Sangram Diwas”.
“You can see the thousands of farmers arriving at Delhi’s Singhu, Tikri, Ghaziabad borders,” said Ravi Azad of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) is his social media dispatch from the protest site. The participants came in tractors, trucks, and other vehicles. The assembly created traffic snarls at most entry points to the National Capital.
"SKM had put out a call for such “tiranga yatras” to be taken out to block, tehsil and district headquarters and to the morcha sites outside Delhi. At the protest sites too, there were marches organised of protesting farmers on foot and vehicles, with the tricolor held high in their hands,” said a statement.
“A large group of farmers from Tamil Nadu, who have been camping at Singhu Border, were part of the Singhu Border march. Such a march was organised at the Haryana-Rajasthan Border too as a “Kisan Kavad Padyatra”, it said, adding: “In Madhya Pradesh, a "tiranga yatra" was taken out in the Narmada river in a unique manner. In Haryana and Punjab, thousands of people joined numerous such yatras. In Sirsa, a very colorful tableau was part of the Tiranga Yatra taken out.”
In Maharashtra, however, farmers having suffered huge losses due to floods, especially in Kolhapur, could not organise such gatherings, said Raju Shetti, founder of Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana (SSS).
“The government is offering Rs.13,000 per hectare as compensation to sugarcane farmers where they have suffered loss accruing to Rs. 4.5 lakhs! How can they survive?” asks the farmer leader.
A rally will be held by the SSS in Kolhapur on August 23 to highlight their plight, he added.
PTI adds: On the occasion of 75th Independence Day, ex-servicemen on Sunday marched towards the Singhu border where protesting farmers are celebrating 'Kisan Mazdoor Azadi Sangram Diwas'.
Veteran farmer leader Satnam Singh hoisted the Tricolour at the Singhu border and some cultural programmes are also lined up, farmer leader Raminder Singh Patiala said.
Jamhuri Kisan Sabha general secretary Kulwant Singh said 'Kisan Mazdoor Azadi Sangram Diwas' is being celebrated across the nation.
"The ex-servicemen marched from the KFC restaurant till the main stage at the Singhu border. 'Kisan Mazdoor Azadi Sangram Diwas' is being celebrated across the nation where people are hoisting flags in support of the farmers," Patiala said.
Another leader said the national flag was also hoisted at the Tikri border.
He said there will be a 'Tiranga yatra' at the Ghazipur border.
"We hoisted the flag at 8 in the morning. A 'Tiranga yatra' of 500 motorcycles from Hapur will reach the Ghazipur border at around 2 pm to celebrate the independence day," Dharmendra Malik of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) said.
Farmers from different parts of the country have been protesting against the three laws since November last year.
While the farmers have expressed apprehension over the laws doing away with the Minimum Support Price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations, the government has been projecting the laws as major agricultural reforms. Over 10 rounds of talks have failed to break the deadlock between the two parties.