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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary reinvigorates Singhu protest

The border, which has been relatively quiet for the past few days, saw a sea of first-time protesters. Among them was Ramanpreet Singh (23), a member of the Punjab Students Union (PSU), who reached in a bus with around 20 others on Monday.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi |
Updated: March 24, 2021 7:16:06 am
Bhagat Singh death anniversary, Singhu protestAt Singhu border on Tuesday. (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

The Singhu border seemed energised Tuesday as women and youths from Punjab and Haryana trickled in to mark Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary.

The border, which has been relatively quiet for the past few days, saw a sea of first-time protesters. Among them was Ramanpreet Singh (23), a member of the Punjab Students Union (PSU), who reached in a bus with around 20 others on Monday.

A wedding photographer hailing from a family of farm labourers, he said: “Bhagat Singh has always instilled a sentiment of revolution in us. I am here because the laws will affect not just farmers but farm labourers too. Labourers work for daily wages which go up to a maximum of Rs 300. It is very difficult to run a household on Rs 9,000 a month. If farmers will not get MSP, labourers will not be able to survive.”

His companion, Jaspreet Singh (20), said she and two of her classmates visited the border during their examinations: “Bhagat Singh devoted his entire life to the country; can we not give up one day to live up to what he taught us?”

She said they will revise for their paper from the protest site if they get time. Several students also said they are staring at a future where farming is no longer lucrative and there’s a dearth of jobs.

Mohan Singh Aulakh (23), PSU state committee member, said, “Around 2,000 students and young working professionals have reached the border today. Some of us got mud from Bhagat Singh’s village, Khatkar Kalan, to the protest site as a symbolic gesture. The mud has been collected in vessels kept near the stage.”

The revolutionary’s face was everywhere — posters, tractors, badges. On the stages, groups of women sang their own compositions through the day, targeting the new laws and the Centre.

Birmati (55) from Jind in Haryana, one of the singers, said, “This is our third time at the borders. We will keep coming until the laws are repealed.”

Mahendra Singh Kasail (62), a farmer from Tarn Taran, sought to draw a comparison between Bhagat Singh’s struggle and the farmers’ protest: “Back then, agriculture and industry was controlled by the British. And now, everything is coming under private hands.”

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