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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

At stir sites, message to youth: ‘Stay away from anti-social elements’

Protesters said that youths are now taking up volunteer duties at the site, with some of them keeping an eye out for unwanted elements.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
Updated: February 4, 2021 11:43:31 am
Farmer protests sites, Farm laws, farmers protests, Ghazipur border, Singhu border, Youth at protest sites, India news, Indian expressThousands of farmers have been camping at Delhi's border points with a demand that the Centre repeal the new agri-marketing laws enacted last September.

AMID MULTI-LAYER barricading, snapping of internet facilities and inadequate supply of water at the farmers’ agitation sites, the new message to the protesters, especially the youth, is to “tread carefully”, practice restraint and strictly avoid taking law and order into their hands.

“After the Red Fort incident by some misguided youths, there was a sense of disappointment among the farmer protesters. But now the protest has been revived in a much bigger way. This is not being tolerated by the government, which wants to finish this protest as soon as possible. It ordered police to set up multi-layered barricades, including barbed wire, digging of deep trenches, nails on the roads so that neither can supporters from Delhi side come to the dharnas site, nor can protesters move ahead. This has also affected supply of essentials to dharna sites. People are not getting water supply in toilets, for bathing, washing and even cooking langar. By doing so the government has been testing the patience of the protesters and in such conditions, we have been motivating our youth not to get provoked by any action of government and asked them to be restricted to their duties assigned by the farm leaders,” said Bhupinder Singh, farmer leader and state convener of the youth wing of Kirti Kisan Union (KKU), adding that they are managing some water supply from Haryana villages.

“Government is snatching our basic amenities to provoke the protesters but we do not want to earn a bad name for our peaceful protest and the farming community as our aim is to show our resentment peacefully against the three farm laws. We are guiding the youth to adopt the same approach instead of indulging any kind of untoward incident,” said the KKU leader.

“In the villages, our activists and village panchayats are educating youth — who are coming to protest site in large numbers — about the nature and seriousness of this protest and cautioning them against being swayed by any kind of notoriety,” said Bhupinder, adding that for two days after the Republic Day, there was a lot of disappointment and morale was very low.

“Now we have to tread with extra caution. We were badly targeted after that incident but because of our true intentions we got huge support and a second chance to revive it and now there is only one method to win this battle, and that is to listen to our leaders only and stay away from anti-social elements,” he added.

“Government is behaving as if we are from Pakistan. Even on the India-Pak borders there is not this much barricading. We are telling our youths to stay alert and not fall prey to the government’s tactics as the government is involving local people to protest against farmers’ protest,” said Amrik Singh, a BKU Kadian leader, adding that now the youth, who were earlier over-enthusiastic, seem more mature and dedicated.

Protesters said that youths are now taking up volunteer duties at the site, with some of them keeping an eye out for unwanted elements.

“In the villages, our activists have been teaching do’s and don’ts to the young protesters, who are ready to join us as soon as possible, that our heroism is only in protesting in a peaceful manner, and not showing any kind of anger which would weak our strength,” said BKU general secretary Satnam Singh Sahni.

At the dharna site too, a lot of change is being seen now, said Sahni.

”Now the agitation has become very serious in nature,” said Dharminder Singh, who has been regularly visiting the protest sites in Delhi for the past over two months.

“Earlier, several youths were coming here as if attending a mela and were not very interested in listening to the leaders on stage. But now even if one of the speakers — which are installed all around the dharna site — goes off, the stage in-charge immediately gets a call to set the speaker right as speeches of farm leaders, visitors, experts on farm issues take place continuously,” said farm leader Mahinder Singh of BKU Dakaunda, adding that village panchayats too are educating the youth before sending them to Delhi borders.

Those coming to join the protests are also made aware not to visit the stage of Kisan Mazdoor sangharsh Committee (KMSC), whose activists had broken barricades on the Republic Day during the tractor parade and gone to Red Fort. PKMSC is not part of 31 farm unions and has put up their separate stage at Singhu border.

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