January 25, 2021 9:18:56 pm
Around 300 farmers from different parts of Gujarat are marching to Delhi to participate in a tractor rally by farmers who are agitating against three farm laws enacted by the Union government, while other farmer leaders are preparing for a meeting in Rajkot on January 27.
Farmers heading to Delhi to participate in the tractor rally on Republic Day have gathered under the banner of Gujarat Samajik Manch and are expected to reach Delhi by Monday night or Tuesday morning. They gathered at Abu Road in Rajasthan from where they started for Delhi.
Ashim Roy of Gujarat Samajik Manch, who is coordinating the effort, said, “For the past two weeks, people (who try to agitate against farm laws) were being detained or put under house arrest. So, we decided that we will come on our own, congregate at some point (in Rajasthan) and then go to Delhi. So, we congregated on Abu Road, which is most suitable for all of us…. There are woman farmers, Dalit farmers, tribal farmers, maldhari farmers…”
Roy said that there are around 300 farmers from Gujarat and 250-300 others who are supporting them in the march to Delhi.
Dev Desai from the group said, “The government has done enough attempts to ensure that farmers from Gujarat do not join the farmers’ protest in Delhi. However, farmers have broken that cage and started their march from Abu road…”
Bhavna Rabari, a 29-year-old farmer from Dhanisura village of Mehsana district, who is among farmers marching to Delhi, said, “We reached Abu road in buses as the authorities in Gujarat are not allowing farmers to join the agitation in Delhi. We will reach Jaipur from where we will move towards Delhi in tractor.”
Bhavna, who is part of voluntary organisation Maldhari Vikas Sangathan, added, “Some male members of our organisation who tried to protest (in Gujarat) were detained by police.”
Deepak Dabhi (52), a tribal farmer from Sandhhosi village of Danta tehsil in Banaskantha district, who is part of the group, is the secretary of Adivasi Sarvangi Vikas Sangh, a tribal organisation.
Pal Ambaliya, convenor of farmers cell in Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee and one the members of the committee of Gujarat Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (GKSS), said that they will hold a meeting of farmers in Rajkot a day after the Republic Day.
“Now, our focus is to take the agitation at local level simultaneously with the ongoing protests in Delhi. Therefore, we shall organise a meeting of farmers in Rajkot on Wednesday in which people from across Saurashtra would participate. We have applied for police permission and the police have agreed to permit the gathering if nothing untoward happens in Delhi during the tractor rally,” Ambaliya said.
This will be second attempt by GKSS, the umbrella organisation trying to mobilise farmers in Gujarat against the three recently enacted farm laws of the Centre, to organise a sammelan in Rajkot.
Ambaliya and other leaders had sought police permission to organise a meeting on January 22 but police did not clear it and leaders were detained for staging dharna without permission.
Ambaliya said they chose Wednesday for the meeting as other events are planned in Suarahstra on Republic Day. “A few hundred farmers from the state are going to Delhi to participate in tractor rally on Republic Day. Farmers will also take out tractor rallies in Bhavnagar and Jamjodhpur the same day. Therefore, we chose the day after Republic Day for the sammelan,” said Ambaliya.
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