To avoid long jams on roads, a large number of farmers plan to move to Delhi borders as early as January 20 to participate in the “tractor parade” planned for Republic Day.
Farm outfit leaders estimate the participation of almost one lakh tractors from Haryana alone, with as many as 7,000 villages despatching several vehicles. The number of protesters at Delhi borders has been increasing over the past few days, with more tractors from Punjab and Haryana joining every day.
“The number of those moving to Delhi borders daily has doubled now, ahead of the ‘tractor parade’,” said Suresh Koth, a farmer leader from Hisar, who has been camping at Singhu border for 50 days.
“The big movement of tractors to Delhi borders from Haryana villages will start from January 23. We hope at least 20 tractors from each village with 200 persons in each tractor trolley moves to Delhi borders. From big villages, 150-200 tractor trolleys will move to Delhi,” said Koth.
Farmers say that every day, 300 tractor trolleys with at least 20 farmers in each move to Singhu border from Punjab and Haryana. “As many as 50-100 tractor trolleys return to their villages to perform their duties in their fields,” said a farm leader.
On Friday, farmers in nearly 500 vehicles from Sirsa and Fatehabad districts of Haryana moved to Delhi’s Tikri border. By evening, the cavalcade had crossed Hisar hoping to reach by Saturday night. “Farmers equate the current agitation with a ‘freedom struggle’ — a fight to save their land from corporates,” said Mandeep Nathwan, a farm leader from Fatehabad, who led the cavalcade.
“This protest will change the political atmosphere of the country with farmers, labourers and working classes joining hands,” said Nathwan, who is president of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Haryana.
“From many villages, vehicles go to Delhi for a day, carrying food items for protesters. Villagers who wish to donate ration or milk inform village committees in the evening so their items can be taken to Delhi in the morning. A large number of farmers now don’t sell their milk, and instead prefer to give it to protesters,” said Nathwan.
Nathwan said farm leaders have also started a campaign to make villages aware about “anti-farmer forces who may try to incite people to harm the ongoing protest”. “In the past few days, we have heard different types of provocative calls regarding the ‘tractor parade’ from some people who want to see violence in the stir to defame the agitators. But we have initiated a campaign to make farmers aware that they should follow the call of only the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha regarding the next steps. Our agitation will remain peaceful,” said Nathwan.
Meanwhile, a senior Haryana Police officer said the crowd is growing by the day: “We are keeping an eye on the developments and will take an appropriate decision if and when needed.”
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