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Friday, September 17, 2021

Karnal, Day 3: With help from gurdwaras, Jat Bhawan, farmers dig in for long haul

So far, farmers have erected a tent with a capacity to hold 15,000 persons in front of the Mini Secretariat apart from erecting waterproof structures similar to ones seen at the Delhi morcha.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Karnal |
Updated: September 10, 2021 7:13:38 am
It was this gurdwara which had arranged langar (community food) for thousands of farmers within a few hours on Tuesday when they had started gheraoing the Mini Secretariat three days back. (Representational)

As talks with Haryana government made little headway, the Karnal morcha completed its third day on Thursday. Outside the mini secretariat, farmers stayed busy pitching waterproof tents with langar from the nearby gurdwaras ensuring that the army of agitators was not forced to move on an empty stomach.

So far, farmers have erected a tent with a capacity to hold 15,000 persons in front of the Mini Secretariat apart from erecting waterproof structures similar to ones seen at the Delhi morcha.

The intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday was spent pitching iron pipes for the pakka morcha and bringing material for pakodas and morning tea, including breads and biscuits. And all this went on amid intermittent slogans of “Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan” and “Kisan-Majdoor Ekta Jindabad”.

Early on Thursday morning at around 5 am, the langar started with tea and biscuits at the site. Even apples were distributed to protesters on Thursday apart from maal-pude cooked in desi ghee. All this was also distributed among policemen deployed at the Mini Secretariat.

The main source of all this has been the Nirmal Kutia gurudwara which is just 500 metres away from the protest site.

It was this gurdwara which had arranged langar (community food) for thousands of farmers within a few hours on Tuesday when they had started gheraoing the Mini Secretariat three days back.

A volunteer Hardeep Singh said: “For the past over nine months, two pick-up vans full of food material go to Singhu border from this gurdwara daily. During winter season, we used to take almost 9 quintals of sarso ka saag and 70 kg makkan (ghee) there daily. When lockdown was imposed in March last year following corona pandemic, the gurdwara used to supply food for several thousands of poor people in the city daily.”

Gurdwaras and other social bodies from neighbouring villages and towns too are supplying food for the protesters in Karnal. Like a vehicle landed here from Taraori gurdwara, which is nearly 15 km away from Karnal.

“Another source of support for the protesters is the neighbouring Jat Bhawan where a few thousands of persons can rest at a time thanks to two four-storey buildings. On Wednesday, almost 2,000 farmers stayed in this Bhawan,” said a farmer, Subhash Chander, who had come from Maanas village of Kaithal district with 30 other farmers three days back to join the protest here.

He further said: “I have studied till Class 5 only, but I know these laws are not in the interest of farmers. We are not going to go anywhere till these laws are repealed.”

For relieving themselves and to take a bath too, the farmers go to these dharamshalas and gurdwaras.
A group of local college students including Jasandeep Singh and Anmol Singh were looking after the supply of bread for the pakodas till late in the night.

“Both of us have contributed Rs 2,000-3,000 each for this material,” said Jasandeep Singh, 21, a BA first-year student of Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Karnal.

In earlier protests in Haryana, policemen were too seen having meal with the farmers from the langar, but that is not happening this time. “It seems, the policemen have been instructed not to have langar food this time. If they have to take any medicine from our mobile van, they take it secretly,” said a farmer.

A police official at the site said: “If policemen mix with the protesters, then the impact of vardi doesn’t work. Such discipline is necessary to perform our duty of law and order effectively. So, we try to maintain distance even as they are also our brothers.”

“For first 24 hours after the protest started on Tuesday, nobody from the police could rest. We don’t mind this because our senior officers were too on the duty. After 24 hours when the things started normalising, a rest of some hours was ensured for the policemen,” added the official.

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