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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Undeterred by police barricades, many families continue Sunday outings to Singhu protest site

Apart from farmers camping at the protest since the end of November, a large number of families from nearby states as well as Delhi have visited for just a day.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: February 8, 2021 1:05:09 pm
Farm bills, farmers protest, singhu border, farmers violence, farmers news, indian express newsProtestors at Singhu Border. (File)

Despite intense police fortification at Singhu border, FIRs against several farm leaders and arrests of protesting farmers — and even violence over the last two weeks — the stream of families bringing their children to the protest site for a Sunday outing continues.

Apart from farmers camping at the protest since the end of November, a large number of families from nearby states as well as Delhi have visited for just a day.

Paramjeet Singh, who lives in East of Kailash and runs a taxi service, his wife and two daughters — aged 10 and 14 — are among such visitors. However, the family did not visit last weekend. “We knew there was some violence here at that time. When we bring our family, we have to think of everything — their safety, what they might be exposed to, what they might become associated with. But I have a friend with Khalsa Aid here and he told me that things have settled down once again, so we have come back now,” he said.

On Sunday, Singh and his wife walked through the crowds at the site, holding their daughters’ hands. “We have been visiting either one of three sites every Sunday. We want our children to understand the problems of farmers, to understand what they are saying and to see for themselves what this agitation is about,” he said.

Swaran Kaur and her family — a large group of two men, two women and five children — were at Singhu for the first time on Sunday. Kaur said that far from receding, the family’s interest to drive down from their hometown in Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib district to the border only increased after the events of January 26.

“Our children have been extremely curious about the protest right from the start and have wanted to see it for a long time. After the events on Republic Day, their curiosity has just grown. They want to know why these things are happening. We also want them to see and not rely just on the media to form their understanding. My husband is a businessman but we still have our roots in farms,” she said.

Dharampal Singh Dhillon, who has been bringing his family to Singhu every Sunday from their home in Greater Noida, said though he was not in support of what happened on Republic Day, his family would continue to be a part of it. “If there is one set of people who did something wrong, it does not mean the whole thing is wrong… As for the friction with police and government, I believe in the concept of natural law. Our four year-old son comes with us because though my wife and I have corporate jobs, this is his heritage,” he said.

Tarbinder Singh has been at the protest site as part of the farmers’ groups from his village in Punjab’s Samrala. On Sunday, he brought his entire family — including his and his brother’s children, and his elderly brother — who would return in the evening. “One day, they will also farm like we do. I wanted them to see our struggle and also see that there is nothing to be scared of,” he said.

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