To survive the harsh winter, protesting farmers at Delhi borders make daily trips to nearby towns in Haryana to buy food and clothes since local police don’t allow them to enter the capital. Help also comes from local groups and gurdwaras in nearby towns in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, which have been bringing them food and essentials.
At Tikri Border, near Mundka, farmers go to Bahadurgarh in Haryana to get food, clothes and quilts.
Manpreet Singh (35), a farmer, said, “There are a few shops here (Delhi) but they shut them when we approach them. Police also don’t let us cross the border to buy groceries. They want us to go to the Burari ground but we will wait here. Yesterday, we decided to make trips to Bahadurgarh to get vegetables. We have wheat, oil and rice which will last us a month but we need vegetables.”
Singh and four of his friends drove to Bahadurgarh and also bought quilts, potatoes and onions.
On Sunday morning, several farmers set their utensils and groceries on the road and made rotis with aloo sabzi. Some cut vegetables while others were tasked with serving food to farmers and commuters.
With the border sealed, and commuters having to walk a long distance to cross it, farmers said they helped people coming from Haryana by giving them roti and sabzi.
Nasib (66), another farmer, also went to Bahadurgarh and bought a sweater along with vegetables.
He said, “I knew police would stop us here. My wife sent some food but there are a lot of people here. We get tired after the protest but have to make these trips to get food. Also, there are no barricades in Haryana so we can go there and buy essentials.”
Meanwhile, at the Delhi-UP Ghazipur border, farmers were helped by local groups who bought food as a show of solidarity.
Members of Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Delhi bought tea and dal-chawal for the protesting farmers.
“They are farmers, we are dependent on them and they spent the night here. They help us so we would also like to help them. Besides, our fathers and forefathers were also farmers,” said Gehri Singh, a business owner.
As they distributed the food, the gathering — all farmers from Western Uttar Pradesh villages – chanted for them, “Jo bole so nihaal, sat sri akal.”
Sikh farmers from Ramraj in Muzaffarnagar district brought vegetable biryani, parathas, pickle and kheer made with sugarcane juice that they had prepared in the morning in their village gurdwara, and drove down 125 km to Delhi by the afternoon.
“We all do what we can to contribute to the farmers across states to address their issues. We will continue to do this for as long as we can. We farmers are a vast unorganised community, we must support each other,” said Subhagvir Singh Mann, a farmer from Muzaffarnagar.
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