Amid the harsh winter and the spike in complaints of fever and cold, families of several protesting farmers have joined them at Tikri border.
Till date at least seven people taking part in the farmers’ protest have died — four of them in an accident and the others of natural causes such as cardiac arrest.
Families of elderly farmers are now joining them from Punjab and Haryana, and some have set up camps to help protesters with food and beds.
Ranjeet Kaur (45) joined her husband, brother-in-law and other relatives at the protest on Monday.
She said she was worried because of the harsh weather in the capital. “They didn’t carry enough quilts and warm clothes. I couldn’t stay at home. I was worried because my husband has low blood pressure and liver ailment. I have come to the border with my friends,” said Kaur, who lives in Bahadurgarh.
On Wednesday, Kaur and her friends made ‘kadha’ for those with cold and fever. The women brought with them bags of ginger, turmeric, honey, cinnamon and other herbs to prepare the drink for more than 500 farmers.
Krishna (60), who runs a restaurant in Punjab with her husband, said her daughter and son-in-law have also joined the protest. “We came here last week to help others but didn’t have space to sleep. We rested under trucks or trolleys. It gets chilly at night. My daughter came two days ago and we now sleep at a gurdwara. We make jalebis and kheer for protesters and also distribute medicines for cold and fever,” said Krishna.
Elderly farmers at the border are particularly apprehensive of the weather.
Gurvinder Singh (70), a farmer from Nanaksar, said he is worried since most of his friends have a fever. “I don’t want to leave the protest but my wife and son are worried. I am also a little scared because it is cold here, and we don’t have enough beds. I can’t walk for long and rest at a hotel or gurdwara. We sleep in our trolleys,” said Singh.
Singh and his friend Sukhvir (65) cut vegetables in the day and help with the langar service at the border. In the last 12 days, the two have complained of fever and chest pain on several occasions.
Sukhvir said he bought medicines from a local store and Khalsa Aid volunteers helped him but he doesn’t feel too well. “We know it’s risky but we won’t leave the protest. I have some difficulty breathing for now. We will be fine,” he said.
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