‘Don’t stop our agitation against farm laws’, say Uttarakhand farmers
The intensity of the farmers’ protest in Uttarakhand against the three new farm laws is increasing, and protesters insist they will march to the borders of New Delhi to join protesters from other states.
The intensity of the protest has increased especially in the US Nagar district, which has a considerable number of Sikhs, many of whom are farmers. The passion of the farmers was evident on December 25 when more than 1,000 farmers heading towards the Delhi border clashed with a heavy police force that was deployed to stop them in Bazpur.
The peasants broke through the barricades on their tractor, injuring some policemen. Videos and photos of the incident were circulated on social media. Later, the district police searched around 1,500 unidentified farmers on charges of rioting and preventing the police from doing their duty. However, so far no arrests have been made. Many of the farmers who broke through the barricades eventually reached Ghazipur, on the eastern border of Delhi, where large numbers of protesters had already camped.
Farmers and the Sikh organizations that support them have now decided to join the farmers’ agitation near Delhi in greater numbers.
“In no way are we going to stop our agitation against farm laws. After a call from the farmers’ organizations to go to Delhi on December 25, we did so by breaking through the police barricades. Now, a similar call will soon be made again in which more farmers will head towards Delhi, ”said Gurbaz Singh Virk, chairman of the Nagar district of the United Sikh Federation of the USA. Delhi border since 25 December.
Virk said the farmers have come up with a strategy on “how to bring together more farmers from across the state to go to Delhi.”
“We have divided the 13 districts into sectors. From there, farmers would gather at US Nagar and prepare to head to the Delhi border while awaiting the next call from our leaders, ”he said.
Gurinder Singh Sahni, another farmer from Nagar in the United States who is agitating against farm laws, expressed his anger at the government for deploying large numbers of police to arrest them.
“First this government tried to threaten the peasants against the protest by presenting a case. They then deployed a significant police force on the state border with barricades to stop us. What does this all mean? Are we criminals? Sahni said.
Attacking the BJP government in Uttarakhand, he said: “When even the Supreme Court had said that farmers should not be prevented from protesting, why is the government preventing us from using the police? We will not stop our protest and will soon head towards Delhi again ”.
Sahni said that the Gurudwara management committees or the Gurudwara prabandhak committees of local gurudwaras in Nagar America have also extended their support to protesting farmers.
“We farmers have a very pious relationship with Gurudwara because according to the teachings of Sikhism, we offer about 10% of our total produce to the Gurudwara langar service. Citing this tradition, the Gurudwara prabandhak committee members said they would fully support us wherever we go, ”Sahni said.
Amid ongoing protest by farmers, the Opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Uttarakhand have also supported farmers to attack the ruling BJP.
On Sunday, the head of the state unit of Congress, Dushyant Yadav, the chairman of the state party Pritam Singh and the secretary of the Indian Congress committee and the MLA, Qazi Nizamuddin, joined the agitation of farmers at the border from Ghazipur in Delhi. The leaders also addressed the farmers’ meeting there.
“Since the day the three laws were passed, we have been saying that they are black laws to kill the rights of farmers. We are against them and we fully support the farmers in their protest until they are repealed, ”said Pritam Singh.
Punjab AAP MP and party leader Bhagwant Mann are scheduled to arrive in Uttarakhand on a two-day tour starting on Tuesday. He is scheduled to hold a rally and address farmers in the US Nagar district, where the protest has been intense.
However, the ruling BJP accused both sides of “deceiving farmers and trying to find oxygen for themselves through agitation of farmers.”
“Both parties are trying to get involved in the farmers’ protest because they have no political ground left in Uttarakhand. So by using protest they are trying to find oxygen for their political lives here, ”said Rajendra Bhandari, BJP secretary general of state.
“When it comes to farm laws, Prime Minister Modi on December 25 cleared up many misconceptions about it. The government is even talking to farmers’ organizations about the issue, but these two parties are misleading them, ”added Bhandari.