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Farmers’ protest: Union heads to lead parade with women in the second tier

Farmers' protest tractor rally: Rehearsals for the parade continued at more than 500 villages in Punjab. Another 200 villages will do the rehearsals Thursday.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: January 21, 2021 10:40:00 am
Delhi border protests, farmers protest, Activists opposing farm bills, women jathas, punjab women jathas, punjab women activists, india news, indian expressThe renewed attempts to drum up support have ensured that fresh jathas of women will start leaving for the Delhi morcha, beginning February 1. (Express File Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Thousands of tractors in four tiers — the first led by representatives of the 42 farm unions and the second by women — will move out in a parade from different protest sites on Delhi borders on January 26.

“The details are being worked out but as the preliminary discussions, the tractor parade will have four tiers. The first tier will be led by the union leaders who are holding talks with the government. The second will led by women farmers. The third tier will have the youth, while volunteers and others will make the fourth tier,” said Harinder Kaur Bindu, vice-president, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan).

The outfit’s general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said they will be synchronising the plan with that of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha. The tractors will move from Tikri, Singhu, Shahjahanpur, Palwal and Ghajipur borders on to Delhi’s Outer Ring Road with tableaus displaying the plight of farmers.

The bulk of the tractor in the parade will be those that are currently on way to the borders from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand. “Not more than 10 per cent of the tractors already parked at the protest sites on Delhi borders will take part in the parade. The tractors and trolleys parked at the borders are our home away from home and we don’t want to empty out the dharna sites. The protests at these sites will go on as usual,” said Jagseer Singh Kothaguru, a farmers’ leader from BKU (Ugrahan) group.

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Balwant Singh Ghudani, another BKU (Ugrahan) leader from Ludhiana said, ”We will be taking out the parade to make our voices heard. Even Supreme Court has refused to interfere (with the tractor parade).”

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court said that the issue of the tractor rally on the Republic day by farmers is in “executive domain” following which the Centre withdrew its plea seeking an injunction against such a march on January 26.

A group of farm union leaders met top officials of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh police to discuss the route and arrangements for the tractor rally. But the unions rejected a suggestion by police officers to hold their rally on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway instead of Delhi’s Outer Ring Road, sources said.

Meanwhile, rehearsals fort the parade continued at more than 500 villages in Punjab. Another 200 villages will do the rehearsals Thursday, said Kokrikalan.

The BKU (Ugrahan) members plans to start for Delhi via Khanauri-Jind Highway and Bathinda-Dabwali Highway in batches on January 23-24. The other farmer unions will also be leaving Punjab on the same dates from Shambhu border, Sardulgarh, Khanauri and Ghula Cheeka borders to reach Tikri and Singhu borders. “There will be thousands of tractors. A select few will have trolleys. The tractors will return back to villages after the parade,” said Narian Dutt from Inqlabi Manch, a Barnala based outfit linked with 32 farmer unions.

Satnam Singh Pannu, president, KMSC, said their members have already started moving in small convoys towards Kundli and Singhu border.

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