Updated: March 2, 2021 2:38:48 pm
With no resolution in sight, farmers fighting against the three controversial farm laws have now started preparing themselves for a long battle. With a deep-rooted sentiment among the farmers that the struggle is meant to “save their land”, while terming it their “mother”, they seem committed to continue their agitation. The Indian Express looks at the preparations being made by the farmers at ground level amid ongoing standoff between the government and farmers.
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‘Kunba’ tents at Delhi borders
Taking initiatives on their own, now the farmers, at their “kunba” level, have started setting up almost permanent structures at Delhi borders to continue the agitation for months. A popular term in villages, “kunba” consists of a group of extended family members. The farmers collect donations — ranging from 200 to 500 — from each of the families of the kunbas concerned to set up their structure. With these donations, they ensure regular supply of ration for the agitators. Kunba members have planned to stay there as per rotation so that a family doesn’t feel the burden of long agitation. During the approaching harvesting season of crops, remaining families of the kunba will also look after the fields of those farmers who will be camping at the borders during that phase.
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A farmer from village Danoda of Hisar district, Kulwant Singh, said, “Farmers are not returning to their homes without getting repealed anti-farmer laws. That’s why we have made arrangements to stay at the borders for months.” Singh’s family erected a tent while displaying the name of family head Mangal Ram Nain on it at Tikri border. Expressing similar sentiments from a neighbouring tent, Pala Ram, from a village of Fatehabad district, said, “The tactic to tire out farmers won’t work. We will keep fighting because this is the fight for our survival. If our land goes, what will we reply to our future generations.”
BKU (Yamunanagar) district president Subhash Gurjar said, “We have a strategy that at least one farmer from each of the families should stay at Delhi borders. Farmers have applied for electricity connections at borders for coolers in the summer season. We are arranging mosquito nets too.”
Use of personal vehicles to transport agitators
To ensure that financial constraints don’t halt their movement, farmers have decided to utilise their resources judicially. Instead of hiring vehicles to go to Delhi borders, they have started using their personal vehicles to ferry farmers. Such vehicles are used turn by turn by the farmers to continue the movement. Those farmers who don’t have vehicles contribute fuel charges to the owner of the vehicle. These days, the movement of a large number of private vehicles from Punjab and Haryana with flags of farmer outfits or Tricolour can be seen at Patiala-Jind-Delhi national highway.
Committees at village level
The long farmer agitation has prepared an army of farmer activists in Haryana and Punjab villages with continuous activities. Sikkim Nain from a village of Haryana’s Jind district was not associated with any farmer union before the ongoing farmer agitation. With her association with the agitation especially to inspire women to learn tractor driving ahead of Republic Day’s “tractor parade”, Sikkim has been nominated district president of BKU’s women wing in Jind. Similarly, Khap leader Azad Palwa in the district has been nominated to BKU’s local unit keeping in view his active association with the agitation. In the next phase, the farmer leaders have decided to set up committees of BKU at village level which will be responsible to be in touch with organisation leaders.
“We should have phone numbers of committee members from each of the villages so that they can be informed immediately in case of any emergency,” BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni urged farmers while addressing a kisan panchayat in Rohtak district Sunday. The sentiment that “the corporates will grab land of farmers after introduction of three laws” is at the heart of the entire farmer movement despite the government repeatedly dismissing such apprehensions. BKU’s Subhash Gurjar said, “Our intense campaign for awareness against three farm laws is on in villages with repeated public meetings.”
Permanent structures at toll plazas
Like the farmers’ presence at Delhi border, dharnas at toll plazas on national highways are a backbone of the ongoing agitation. These dharnas are full of colour with folk singers singing ragnis and elders using hookahs there. A large number of women too turn to these dharnas daily. All these grab the attention of those who move on national highways. Further, toll free movement of vehicles of agitators to Delhi borders too has energised the ongoing farmer movement. Keeping in view these circumstances, the agitators have set up almost permanent structures at the toll plazas with a feeling that the agitation will continue for long. “This agitation has become a mass movement now,” said S K Goyal, a retired IAS officer, who has visited several Haryana villages to aware farmers against three farm laws.
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