Updated: February 10, 2021 12:46:57 pm
Hundreds of women farmers from Punjab arrived at Singhu border to help protesters collect donations and with langar sewa. Ever since the Republic Day violence at Red Fort, donations have dipped at the protest site and a few food stalls have also closed.
On Tuesday, over a hundred women from Jalandhar joined the protest, saying they were “agitated” after hearing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Parliament, and wanted to keep the movement “alive”.
Malkit Kaur (45), a wheat farmer from Jalandhar, came in a truck with 30 other women late Monday. She said her husband has been protesting at Singhu for two months and wants to go back and take care of the farm. “I want to show the PM we are here to stay. He can call us names but we won’t leave until the laws are repealed. We were told there’s a dip in donations and brought 50 quintal flour. We donated 2 quintals at each langar. Our family will bring more flour next week.”
The women also told their family members to go back to their villages and ask farmers for vegetables and donations.
Jasvinder Kaur (50), a farmer from Jalandhar, said, “I sent my son and husband back to our village. They will talk to our neighbours and convince them to come here and donate. We think the government is not only trying to discredit our movement but also ignore our issues.”
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Farmers complained that though MSP for maize is Rs 1,800 per quintal, they only get Rs 800-1,000 per quintal at mandis. “How is this MSP going to benefit us? We want fair prices for our produce,” said Jasvinder.
Women farmers from Jalandhar wore green-coloured chunnis and scarves to symbolise their connection to the fields.
Harbant Singh (84) came with his wife, daughter-in-law and grandchildren to participate in the protest. Singh said their family is bringing water cans weighing 80 quintals from their village in Kadiana, Phillaur.
“We want to help farmers in whatever way we can. Though the Republic Day violence was a setback for us, we are getting stronger. The Centre is still not listening to us,” said Singh.
From Nawanshahr in Punjab, a group of 70-80 women arrived at Singhu with yellow safa and chunnis to pay tribute to Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Ramanjeet (50), a sugarcane farmer, said, “I told my sons to donate for the movement. One of them is an engineer based in Mumbai. When I arrived here, he wished me luck and told me to take care of myself. My husband is the only one who’s taking care of our farms now.”
The women later gathered near a mall at the protest site and collected vegetables — potatoes, cauliflower, onion — and flour for the langars. They said they plan to sleep in a hall inside the mall, and had brought mattresses for other protesters.
When asked about the donations, Dr Darshan Pal Singh, Samyukta Kisan Morcha spokesperson, said “Yes, there’s a dip in donations at Singhu. Before Republic Day, more people were coming and donating.”
Farmer leaders said they are hoping more protesters will donate as many of the farmers who left Singhu earlier are returning. As of now, the organisation is able to collect over Rs 5-6 lakh per day through donations. This goes into food, electricity, medical bills, stage arrangements, tarps, etc.
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