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Saturday, October 16, 2021

The anatomy of a protest

Much before they marched to Delhi border in late November last year and set up their camps at Singhu and Tikri, the farmers had first started the protests when the Centre on June 5, 2020 promulgated the ordinances that later went on to take the shape of the three farm reform laws.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Chandigarh |
September 17, 2021 8:35:30 am
Farmers offer prayers and take out a Nagar Kritan to mark the new year on January 1 this year at Singhu border, in New Delhi. File

2020

June 5: Centre promulgates three Ordinances – The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.were tabled in Union Cabinet
June 6: Punjab farmers burn effigies of NDA govt
June 14: Farmers start protest by standing on roofs of their houses from 9 am-10pm with handmade charts against Ordinances; went on till June 30
July 20: Effigies of SAD-BJP alliance burnt by 11 farmer unions of Punjab
July 27: First tractor march organised by 11 farmer unions.
August 9: Farmers court arrest countrywide as part of Jail Bharo Aandolan, send memorandum to PM through DCs
August 19: 31 farmer unions of Punjab decide to protest on a common platform
August 25: Protests to ban entry of SAD-BJP leaders inside villages in Punjab.
September 12: Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee block three bridges in Punjab; blockade till Sept 24
September 14: Govt tables the three Ordinances in Lok Sabha
September 15: Pakka Morchas begin outside the residence of former CM Parkash Singh Badal in Badal village and at PUDA ground in Patiala – Punjab CM’s constituency;
September 17: Lok Sabha clears the Ordinances; Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigns from Union Cabinet in protest
September 20: Rajya Sabha clear the Ordinances by voice vote
September 24: Farmers in Punjab announce a three-day rail roko
September 25: Farmers across India take to the streets in response to a call by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC).
September 27: Farm Bills are given presidential assent and notified in the Gazette of India and become Farm Laws.
September 27: SAD walks out of 27-year-old alliance with Bhartiya Janta Party
October 1: Farmers start train blockade — both passenger and goods — at more than 30 places in Punjab.

October 21: Farmers lift dharna against freight trains, but train services remain suspended; dharnas begin outside 90 petrol pumps, a dozen shopping malls, 30 toll plazas and outside outside the houses of 31 BJP leaders
October 25: AIKSCC gives call for Delhi Chalo; 500 farmer unions extend support
November 5: Nationwide Chakka Jam.
November 13: Centre holds first round of talks with protesting farmer unions
November 23: Train services resume in Punjab
November 25: Haryana farmers begin march to national Capital
November 26: Punjab farmers join Delhi Chalo march.
2021:
January 7: Tractor march by farmers on KMP Expressway
January 20: Centre offers to put farm laws on hold for 18 months, a day later farmers reject offer
January 22: Eleventh and last round of talks between Centre and farmer unions
January 26: Violence at Red Fort and in parts of Delhi during tractor march by Samyukta Kisan Morcha

January 27: Amid police action and anger at derailment of protest, farmers at Singhu and Tikri start returning home to Punjab and Haryana
January 30: Sadbhavna Yatra by farmer unions; momentum against farm laws starts rebuilding; BKU’s Rakesh Tikait emerges as a main leader at Ghazipur protest site.
February 3: SKM starts holding mahapanchayats, first in Haryana’s Kondal
February 6: Nationwide chakka jam call for 3 hours, special focus on maintaining discipline
February 10: First mahapanchayat in Punjab’s Jagraon
February 23: Farmers mark birth anniversary Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s uncle Ajit Singh who had led Pagri Sambhal Jatta movement to protect farmers’ rights
February 24: Yuva Diwas observed at Delhi borders to revive participation of youth
February 27: Another call for Delhi Chalo
March 8: All protest managed by woman activists to mark Women’s Day
March 23: Farmers observe Martyrs’ Day across hunderds of protest sites as tribute to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
March 26: Bharat Bandh to mark four months of protest at Delhi borders
March 28: BJP MLA from Abohar heckled and stripped by farmers in Punjab’s Muktsar; 20 farmers arrested over next few days, all out on bail now

May 26: Farmers observe black flag day to mark six months of dharna at the Delhi borders. Congress, SAD and AAP extend support

June 5: One year after ordinances tabled in cabinet, unions burn copies of farm laws across the country
June 26: Farmers in more than 20 states march towards Raj Bhawan to mark seven months of protest at Delhi borders.
July 2: Farmers protest against rising fuel prices, in Punjab they also protest against power crisis
July 11: Farmers gherao BJP leaders in Punjab’s Rajpura, hold them hostage, release them after HC order
July 11: BKU Haryana president Gurnam Singh Chaduni starts convoy from Gurdaspur till Singhu border under his Mission Punjab, asks farm leaders to contest 2022 Punjab polls; SKM suspends him for a week
July 12: Farmers gherao BJP leaders in Bathinda administrative complex; they escape by scaling wall
July 22: Kisan Sansad begins at Jantar Mantar parallel to the ongoing parliament session; every day 200 farmers from different states attend the Sansad.

August 9: Traders float a political outfit – Bhartiya Aarthik party ( BAP) – in Ludhiana, name Gurnam Singh Chaduni as CM face, he refuses
August 19: SAD launches 100-day poll outreach – Gall Punjab Di, faces protests by farmers
August 28: Lathicharge at farmers in Karnal during a protest; then Karnal SDM is heard telling police personnel to ‘break the heads’ of protesters

September 3: In Moga, lathicharge by Punjab Police on farmers protesting against SAD’s Gall Punjab Di rally
September 4: SAD announces to postpone Gall Punjab Di
September 5: Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar, claimed to be the biggest so far
September 7: Farmers start pakka morcha outside Karnal Administrative complex demanding action against cops and SDM Karnal
September 10: For the first time political parties in Punjab meet 32 farm unions. Farm leaders ask them not to hold election rallies till EC announces election dates.
September 11: Farmers call off dharna from Karnal after Haryana government sends the officer on leave and announces probe by retired HC judge

The Other Numbers
113 places in Punjab where protests against the agri laws are still going on
30 BJP leaders outside whose houses farmers are protesting since October 1, 2020

594 farmers
who have died till September 14 amid the ongoing protests in Punjab and at Delhi borders

Tweets, Hashtags That Got Centre in a twist

There was an outrage on the social media after several prominent international celebrities and activists extended their support to the farmer-led movement against the Centre’s contentious farm laws. In a tweet on February 2, American pop singer Rihanna asked “Why aren’t we talking about this?!” and added the hashtag ‘#FarmersProtest’. The next day teen Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted: “We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India”. Same day, US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris too tweeted: “We ALL should be outraged by India’s internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters.”

The Ministry of External Affairs had issued a statement slamming foreign individuals and entities saying it is “unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them.”

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