With no hope of an early end to the deadlock over farm laws, farmer unions have started rotating their protesters sitting on dharna at Delhi borders. Unions claim that they neither have dearth of representatives nor funds.
Majha-based Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee (KMSC), Border Area Kisan Sangarh Committee (BAKSC) and Jamhoori Kisan Sabha (JKS) have the longest distance to travel for their supply line to Delhi as they are sending activists, ration and funds from villages in Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts.
Ten more vehicles including tractor trollies and mini trucks have started their journey for Delhi from ten Amritsar villages, which are just 4-8 km from the Attari border touching Pakistan. More than 150 protesters left for Delhi in these vehicles.
“We are sending men and women from the villages touching Pakistan. We always had a fear that there could be war and we will be at the forefront. But now we are in a different kind of war with the Delhi government and sending our men there,” said Farmer leader Rattan Singh Randhawa.
He added, “A tractor trolley uses up diesel worth Rs 15,000 to reach Delhi and return. Yesterday we sent a bus to Delhi and paid Rs 19,000 for diesel. But we didn’t have to pay for the driver’s wages as he refuses to charge any money. This is how we are getting support from all sections of society. Even those who don’t have any land or are not even in farming are also supporting us. People are very excited to go to Delhi and protest there. I haven’t seen such dedication in common masses in a long time.”
On one hand farmer unions are sending protesters to Delhi, on other they are also running their protest activities at the local level.
KMSC is still sitting on dharna near Jandiala Guru railway station, preventing passenger trains from running between Beas and Amritsar.
“We have allowed only goods trains to run. Passenger trains will not be restored until the Bills are quashed,” said Sawarn Singh Pandher.
Similarly, BAKSC and JKMS have been also running dharnas outside the residence of BJP MP Shawait Malik in Amritsar.
“We can’t afford to loosen our grip. It is as important to protest in front of Shwait Malik’s house as is protesting in Delhi,” said Randhawa.
He further said, “We have no shortage of activists. People understand that it is a do or die battle and we cannot risk to lose it. There are many who are sitting on Shambu border and do not want to return though we are ready to rotate them. Only 20 per cent agreed for the rotation. Otherwise mostly said that they would come back only after the government agreed to their demands.”
“Funds are also not an issue. You will be surprised that even very small farmers who have small landholdings and one or two cows and buffaloes to run their home are also saving Rs 50-100 daily to fund the farm agitation. Also, many organisations in Delhi have come forward with langars and so ration is not a big problem for now,” said Randhawa.
The families of those participating in Delhi are being looked after by villagers behind.
“Now all villages have become one family. If men and women from one family are participating in Delhi then villagers are taking it as responsibility to support family members from home. It may be in form of bringing fodder for livestock or taking cows to the village pond. We are planning to send another major Jatha to Delhi from Gurdaspur on December 25. Meetings are being held to make this Jatha as big as possible,” said Pandher.
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