A little over a year since they began their agitation against the farm laws at Delhi’s borders, thousands of farmers are set to return home after the Centre acceded to their demands.
A ‘Fateh Ardas’ (victory prayer) was held at Singhu border around 5.30 pm on Thursday — the 379th day of the protest. By Friday afternoon, farmers will start packing up and clearing the stage.
On the plan to leave the borders, Buta Singh Burjgill, president of BKU Dakaunda, said: “Haryana farmers will start first on Friday morning as they have to make arrangements to welcome Punjab farmers (when they pass through the state). Farmers from Punjab will follow suit from Singhu and Tikri on Saturday morning.”
“There will be an overnight stay in Haryana, where farmers there will welcome us. We will celebrate our brotherhood and unity throughout the morcha. On Sunday morning, farmers will start entering Punjab through Shambu, Guhla Cheeka, Khanauri, Sardulgarh and Dabwali borders,” said Narian Dutt from the Inqalabi Manch Punjab.
Harmeet Singh Kadian, president of BKU Kadian, added, “All our demands have been met, so there was a Fateh Ardas from the stage of Singhu. Farmers started gathering at Singhu on November 26 last year, and then at Tikri and Ghazipur as well. Now, it is time to head home. We will protest for our rights in the future too; our grit and patience worked. Our meetings with the government over MSP will continue…”
“We came to Delhi facing water cannons and barricaded roads last year, but we will be returning home in a different way,” Amarjeet Singh from BKU Dakaunda told The Indian Express.
Rajinder Singh Deepsinghwala, general secretary of Kirti Kisan Union, said the human cost has been immense: “It took the government one year to listen to us… during this time, 732 farmers died at Delhi’s borders due to various reasons.”
Several farmers from Punjab, as well as Ludhiana-based industrialists, arrived at the Singhu and Tikri borders to celebrate their victory on Thursday morning. “Leaders of 32 farm unions of Punjab will be paying obeisance at the Golden Temple on the morning of December 13, while on December 15, pakka dharnas from 108 places in Punjab will be lifted,” Kadian added.
Preparations, meanwhile, have begun in Haryana. BKU Jind president Azad Palwa said: “We have already called a halwai to start making jalebis so there is no shortage of sweets for them. We have contacted dhol parties to ensure a grand welcome at Uchana.”
On December 13 last year, farmers and labourers had started a “kisan langar” at Jhanj Kalan village for the agitators. Kapoor Singh, a key member of the langar committee and a labour activist, said: “We had already announced that our langar will continue till the last tractor-trolley returns from Delhi. So, we will arrange food for every farmer who returns from the Delhi border on Saturday. In the past two-three days, we have seen several cavalcades of farmers moving to Delhi borders to participate in the celebrations there.”
Nov 26, 2o2o: Farmers arrive at Singhu border after months-long protests against the 3 farm laws, primarily in Punjab. Clashes take place between Delhi Police and protesters, security forces use tear gas shells and lathi charge
Dec 3: First round of talks held between SKM and government, ending in a stalemate
Dec 16: 65-year-old Sikh religious leader Sant Baba Ram Singh shoots himself dead at Singhu-Kundli border. His suicide note claimed he was pained by the anguish of the farmers
Jan 26, 2o21: Farmers march towards Delhi, with a group breaking off from the main convoy and reaching ITO and Red Fort. At ITO, one farmer dies after his tractor allegedly overturns. At Red Fort, protesters hoist the Nishan Sahib and a scuffle erupts between farmers and police leading to arrest of protester Deep Sidhu and others.
Jan 28: Orders issued to vacate Ghazipur site. Leader Rakesh Tikait, in tears, appeals to people from nearby regions to join protesters, giving a renewed push to farmers
Feb 8: During the Parliament session, the PM, in a reference to protests in the country, said there’s a difference between andolankari and andolanjeevi. Farmer bodies call it an attempt to defame the movement
July 22: Farmers begin a parallel Monsoon Session at Jantar Mantar, speak about the legislation and its impact on earnings
Sept 5: Kisan Mahapanchayat held at Muzaffarnagar in a show of strength by SKM in Rakesh Tikait’s stronghold
Oct 15: A man is murdered, allegedly by Nihang group members, at Singhu. They suspected him of religious desecration. SKM distances itself from the act and claims rule of law will prevail
Nov 19: PM Modi announces repeal of the three farm laws. SKM, while hailing it as a victory, remain adamant on the legal mandate of MSP
Dec 9: SKM says with the Centre agreeing to several demands, ‘the current agitation stands suspended’
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