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Explained: Why farmers are not suspending stir despite weekend lockdown

The farmers feel that such a massive agitation is not easier to be re-launched if it is postponed now. They also argue that when they started protesting these laws in Haryana in July 2020 even then there was a Covid lockdown.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 2, 2021 1:20:29 pm
A Kisan Majdoor mahapanchayat in Ambala’s Dhurali village, which was addressed by BKU's Rakesh Tikait. (Image courtesy: BKU)

Despite the surge in Covid-19 cases and imposition of weekend lockdown in nine districts of Haryana, farmer outfits have announced continuing their agitation like it is going on for the past five months. The Indian Express explains why farmers don’t want to postpone their agitation despite appeal by top BJP leaders.

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What is the situation at ground?

There is still strong undercurrent among the agitator farmers against three farm laws which they term as “anti-farmer and anti-poor”. Thousands of farmers are sitting at the borders of Delhi for the past five months and their dharnas are continuing at toll plazas of national highways in Haryana as part of the agitation. Now, they have started terming these dharna venues as their “homes” while announcing they won’t leave these spots till three farm laws are not repealed.

Lately, the farmer leaders have tried to garner support of Dalits too by organising Dalit Panchayats apart from holding similar events while inviting other sections of the society. On May 1, they held a Kisan-Majdoor Mahapanchayat in Dhurali village of Ambala district which was
addressed by BKU’s Rakesh Tikait.

Why farmers don’t want to postpone their agitation?

There is a feeling among farmers that “they will lose their agricultural land in the hands of corporates after implementation of three farm laws” despite insistence of the government that the laws are meant to the “welfare of farmers”.

Further, the farmers feel that such a massive agitation is not easier to be re-launched if it is postponed now. They also argue that when they started protesting these laws in Haryana in July 2020 even then there was a Covid lockdown. So, the imposition of lockdown is not a new thing for them.

Is there no fear of second wave at protest sites?

“Except isolated cases, we haven’t heard about such cases at large scale among the farmers,” says Hisar-based political analyst Rishi Saini. BKU’s Gurnam Singh Chaduni had recently tweeted, “Nobody from the farmer agitation fell ill because of this disease…the government wants to crush this unprecedented people’s movement in the name of Covid-19 outbreak.”

However, Haryana Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister J P Dalal urged the farmers to suspend the agitation immediately.

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What next?

Farmers say that they will resist any attempt of their forcible removal from dharna sites. “We will return to our homes only when the government repeals three farm laws,” says Mandeep Nathwan, a farmer leader from Haryana.

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  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
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