To mark six months of protests at the borders of the national capital over the farm laws, farmers are observing a nationwide ‘Resistance Day’ on Wednesday. There are marches being carried out, black flags raised and effigies burnt in several cities and villages in Punjab and Haryana, and at Delhi’s borders.
Women led a protest in Sidhwan Kalan, a village in Ludhiana district, shouting slogs of “we will fight, we will win”, while in Tur, Amritsar district, a group of farmers marched holding black flags. In nearly all villages in Punjab, effigies of the Prime Minister were burnt.
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In a video message released on Wednesday, Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Chaduni said, “We are celebrating the day to oppose PM Narendra Modi. Today is the day to show your opposition for yourself and your family. Raise black flags on your rooftop and vehicles, and burn effigies of the Prime Minister. This is a fight for our economic independence.”
Amid the second wave of the pandemic, leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) told The Indian Express they were not aiming at a show of strength but a symbolic protest with Covid protocols in place. They also said they were ready for a resolution through talks but the government must come up with a viable proposal.
Several opposition leaders gave support to the ‘Black Day’ last week. In a letter, leaders of at least 12 parties reiterated their demand for the repeal of the three contentious laws and asked the government to resume talks with farmer unions.
On Wednesday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal hoisted a black flag at his residence and urged the Centre to deal “compassionately” with farmers. “I again urge the Centre to deal compassionately with farmers and repeal the black laws. Have hoisted a #BlackFlag atop my Badal residence today and likewise Akali Dal leaders and workers have done the same observing Black Day,” he tweeted.
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur since November 26, 2020. Their last round of talks with the government was held on January 22.
Farmers have urged others, including labourers, the youth, the unemployed, traders and shopkeepers to join the protest and raise black flags at their homes, shops and industrial establishments.