Angry at the obstacles placed in the way of farmers marching to Delhi, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a grouping of 500 farm unions, shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday urging him to provide them safe passage to Ram Leela Ground in Delhi.
The letter, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, reads, “As you are aware, determined and resolute farmers are marching towards Delhi in lakhs from different states of India, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and so on, under the leadership of various national and regional platforms of farmers organisations. A Samyukt Kisan Morcha was created in the recent past as a coordination mechanism for this Dilli Chalo program of the farmers”. Follow Farmers’ Protest Live Updates
“These farmers have had to face unprecedented obstacles placed in their way by Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments presumably also at the behest of the central government, which tried every possible means to stop them – regular barricades, sand-laden trucks in multiple layers, huge boulders placed across the roads and even trenches on the road, water canons and tear gas. All of this in the cruel and cold blooded act in the cold winter days in North India. We are still managing to march forward, and thankfully without any untoward incident so far”.
The letter says things have come to such a pass because the voices of farmers were not taken into account while framing the agri laws. “Even the representations given to you multiple times during farmers’ protests in their respective states remained unanswered by your office,” reads the letter.
The letter, sent on behalf of dozens of farmers including Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan convenor VM Singh who is also member of national working committee of AIKSCC, said that at least now, the government should initiate a sincere dialogue with the farmers.
The call for the Delhi Chalo march was given by the AIKSCC, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and factions of the Bharati Kisan Union.
Meanwhile, farmers marching to Delhi were unfazed by the obstacles. “Hun Dilli door nahin, jad asin gharon nikal chukke han tan kujh karke hi dikhanavage bhavein sarkar raste wich toye paaye ya paani barsaye, (Now Delhi is not far for us, we have left our homes, we will return only after achieving our goal; it doesn’t matter whether the government digs trenches or rains water on us),” said Jagsir Singh (49), part of a large group of farmers marching to Delhi for the past 24 hours.
“With a strength of 60,000 in our group, we are stronger than a cyclone now and whosever will come in our way will be removed… our youth wing took no time to uproot two huge barricades near Dabwali,” he added. The farmer said that the administration had blocked the roads by putting up big boulders and had dug up ditches so that the tractors could not pass, but “we removed all hurdles”.
Multi-layer police barricades, sand-laden trucks, sandbag walls, barbed wire fences, boulders, trenches in the middle of the road, water cannons, and tear gas shells were some of the obstacles that farmers marching from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh had to face on their way to the national capital.
“The government (also) tried to stop us in the name of coronavirus pandemic, but why are such rules not applied when the BJP national president JP Nadda decides to hold road show in Hyderabad for municipal corporation elections there,” asked Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bharti Kisan Union (Dakaunda).
Baljinder Singh of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee, said they faced a huge wall of sandbags and trucks followed by stone pelting by police when their activists tried to enter Delhi from the Singhu border. Clashes also broke out at multiple places on Delhi as restless crowds of farmers sought to push their way through into national capital.
“Big trenches on the national highway near Karnal hindered the free flow of traffic, which is a crime in itself. The government must take action against such unlawful acts of the police as well as Haryana government,” said Jagmohan Singh, adding that when farmers block highways, they are booked under National Highway Act.