Updated: February 1, 2021 1:25:14 am
THE FARMERS’ protest at Singhu border has had men at the forefront for over two months now. But apprehension that their loved ones would be arrested, determination to show support, and BKU leader Rakesh Tikait’s emotional appeal from the Ghazipur border in UP have led to hundreds of women farmers arriving at the protest site over the last two days — many for the first time.
They have conducted rallies around the site, raised slogans near the main stage, held lathis while helping volunteers in security, and chipped in for the langar. On Sunday, several women protesters said they had walked up to 10 km to reach Singhu. Many said they have left their farms to join the movement while others said they will stay for the weekend to help their “farmer brothers”.
Babli (40), a farm labourer from Sangrur in Punjab, said she and her friends came to Singhu on Saturday after they saw a video of Tikait crying and declaring that the agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws will continue. “Police can’t treat us like animals. My husband was part of the tractor march on Republic Day and was thrashed by police outside the Singhu border. He didn’t even go to Delhi and wasn’t part of the group that hoisted the flag. At Ghazipur, police harassed Tikait. We feel insulted. We have been targeted. I will stay here with my friends. My mother is taking care of my children. We will cook lunch for protesters and at night, we will set up tents near our tractors,” she said.
Dalbir Kaur (47), a farmer from Patiala, came with her uncle and aunt to Singhu on Saturday evening after hearing speeches of “farmer leaders of BKU” and other unions. “My husband has been protesting here for nearly two months.
We have a sugarcane farm and also grow vegetables. Yesterday, I got my two sons and came here. We were given a few placards and held rallies near the stage. I will have to leave tomorrow, but don’t count me out. I am ready to sacrifice my life for this movement. Police and the government can harass us but we won’t quit,” she said.
Kaur and a group of 5-10 women shouted slogans alleging “police brutality” and against the new farm laws.
Another protester, Mandeep (50), said she has come to help the farmers who were injured during the clashes on Republic Day. “I have bought two containers of milk and dry fruits… I was shocked to know that many of my farmer brothers from Kapurthala were grievously injured. I have come with my husband because both of us want to help farmers. We respect Tikait ji and will protest here until the new laws are repealed. Police can lodge cases and call us terrorists. We will fight them. We won’t leave,” she said.
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