December 20, 2020 1:38:39 am
Their forefathers fought the third battle of Panipat against Ahmad Shah Abdali’s forces. Now, almost 260 years later, the Ror-Marathas of Raipur Roran recall their martial history as they actively participate in the ongoing farmers’ agitation. After the January 1761 battle, the community members had settled in the neighbouring areas of Panipat.
“Our forefathers fought as soldiers of Peshwa’s army. Now, we are ready to fight to save farming and our land,” says Jasvinder Singh, 40, who had gone to join the farmer protesters at Singhu border of Delhi a few days back.
The villagers say as many as 150 have joined the protesters at Delhi borders till now stating that the farmers in double this number will go there in coming days if the matter was not resolved soon. With over 2,000 votes, the BJP has been winning every election from this Ror-Maratha dominated village beginning with 2014 parliamentary polls. But now, the farmers here are up in arms against the BJP government over the three farm laws.
Though, the farmers here are not much aware about the technical aspects of three laws, but believe that the protesters are fighting for a right cause. They also don’t want to fall in the debate of amendments or withdrawal of the controversial farm laws.
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“The agitation is spreading among the farmers with the sentiment that their fight is for their rights,” adds Jasvinder Singh, who has four acres of agricultural land.
Echoing similar sentiments, Shamsher Singh, 50, says, “Before this election, we used to love Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I had voted for BJP candidate in 2019 Assembly election too. But now farmers are upset because of the three farm laws. At least, the farmers should have been consulted before introduction of such laws.”
The farmers of the village, which falls on Delhi-Ambala highway (NH-44) grow wheat and paddy.
Conservative estimate put the number of Rod-Marathas in Haryana at around 7 lakh.
Jai Bhagwan, 40, had gone to Delhi’s Singhu border along with four farmers on December 5. “The agitation is spreading because the demands of farmers are not being accepted. The minimum support price (MSP) of crops should stay,” he adds. Seventy-two-year old Mehar Singh says, “I don’t know about the technicalities of three laws. But I have heard that corporates will grab land of farmers after these laws. The mandi system will collapse and we will be forced to sell our crops at low prices.”
A farmer, Virender Singh, says, “When majority of farmers want withdrawal of these laws, then the government should not delay in repealing the same.”
A Bhartiya Kisan Union activist Neki Ram Chauhan, who has been to Singhu border twice, says the proposal of Rs 1 crore fine on farmer for stubble burning is wrong. However, he says that the agitation should end even if the government gives in writing about the guarantee of minimum support price.
At the outskirts of the village, the Valmiki community members have mixed response regarding the agitation. Some of them say that they are dependent on farmers for labour related works in their fields while others say the farmers are already resourceful. A community member Deepak Kumar, said, “We get less opportunities of work these days as the farmers are engaged in the agitation.”
A Jhimar community member Naresh Kumar said the government has already introduced lot of schemes for the farmers and their decision for agitation is not correct.
BJP Kisan Morcha activist Rakam Singh Gujjar Singh, who is from Sirsi village of Karnal district, says, “The Bills are good for farmers. The Opposition is doing politics in the name of farmers. The government has also announced a scheme to give Rs 6,000 in the bank account of every farmer annually.” However, another farmer from the village, Mahender Gujjar, said, “When we did not demand such laws why the government has imposed the same on farmers?”
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