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Volunteers at Tikri have task cut out on Republic Day: Keep order, peace

Police at the border said they will remove the barricades in the morning so the tractors can go ahead.

Farmers sit in protest against the new Farm Bill, at Tikri Border, New Delhi.(Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Through the day, farmers at Tikri border distributed sticks to be used to hoist the Tricolour and purchased diesel in cans from nearby petrol pumps to use during Tuesday’s tractor rally. Near police barricades, farmers formed groups as volunteers instructed them to maintain discipline for the mega rally.

While older farmers will be guiding volunteers from their respective districts, younger ones have been chosen to ensure order is maintained and to hand out instructions and distribute flags to people from their villages.

Sukhwinder Singh (56), a coordinator for Moga district, checked his notebook with names of around 100 volunteers from his district: “I am making calls to them so they can come here and pick up the sticks. Each tractor will have two flags — the Tricolour and a flag of their respective unions.” He said there are lakhs of tractors but not all will be able to go to the borders.

After spending months on the capital’s periphery, the excitement of entering the city was palpable. Said Aman Nain (21) from Jind in Haryana: “The tractors will form a line and go straight into Delhi.”

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Police at the border said they will remove the barricades in the morning so the tractors can go ahead. Farmers from here will march up to Nangloi and turn to Najafgarh, from where they will return to Tikri.

Tijinder Singh (50), a coordinator for Sri Muktsar Sahib in Punjab, said there are around 60 main coordinators, who have 100-150 volunteers under them, meaning a total of 7,500 volunteers at Tikri border.

“We have seen photos of the tableaux which are being prepared in the villages. As far as we know, a history of farmers in India will be depicted. These are being made by artisans in villages. They have made a charkha, local artwork, sickles and golden vessels,” he said, adding that the tableaux are coming from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and will reach the border early Tuesday morning.

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On the numbers set to march, he said “innumerable” farmers are ready, but the final number would depend on the leaders.

First published on: 26-01-2021 at 03:36:51 am
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