Ahead of farmers’ Republic Day tractor parade, there is a massive outpouring of support with thousands of youth from Har number of doctors, lawyers and writers from Punjab’s Ludhiana coming forward Monday to throw their weight behind the protesting agriculturists.
As a result, the national highways leading to Delhi were choked by the vehicles moving to take part in the parade. Till late into the night, there was a heavy rush of vehicles — tractors, bikes, jeeps, trucks, buses and cars — on the National Highway-44.
A number of youths — on bikes and in tractor-trolleys and trucks sporting Tricolour and flags of unions — headed to Delhi, dancing and raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We had been looking after our agricultural fields while our elders had been camping at Delhi borders for the past two months. Now we too are going to support them,” said Tarwinder Singh, 26, resident of Changera village of Punjab’s Patiala district. Tarwinder, who is pursuing graduation from a private university, was one among 13 youths in a tractor-trolley. “Even we don’t know when we will return.”
Another youth, Ranjot Singh, said, “With three farm laws, the corporates are eying our land. This land was given to us by our ancestors. It is everything for us, not a business.” Ranjot, 21, is pursuing MBA degree through a correspondence programme from a technical university in Punjab.
The entire 178-km stretch of the national highway from Ambala to Kundli border of Delhi seemed full of colours, with cultural programmes being held on roadsides to energise the farmers. There were langars of tea, snacks and food at every five km on the national highway.
Ambala BKU president Malkit Singh said, “I have been working for the BKU for the past 20 years but hadn’t seen such enthusiasm for an agitation. It has become a mass movement now with every section of society coming out to support farmers.”
Harjinder Singh, a former sarpanch from Piruwala village of Haryana’s Yamunanagar district, said, “All farmers are against three farm laws. I fail to understand why the government is sticking to these laws.”
“This is not a fight of only farmers because rates of wheat flour will rise five times after implementation of these laws,” said Prince Sharma, a youth from Piruwala village. Roopinder Singh from Rajpura town of Punjab said, “There is no doubt that the prices of food items will rise after amendments in Essential Commodities Act. I work for a private firm but going to support the farmers.”
There was a heavy rush of tractors on National Highway-9 too which connects Delhi to Hisar.
In Ludhiana, six ambulances and four private vehicles started for Tikri and Singhu borders along with a team of 40 medical professionals, including eight specialist doctors. The team is moving under the banner of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD). Dr Arun Mitra, ENT specialist from Ludhiana who was leading this convoy, said, “We are going to be part of the Kisan Republic Day tractor parade so that we can provide medical aid to farmers in case they need it. Our ambulances are fully equipped and we will be part of the parade in ambulances. Already, we have organised seven medical camps at Singhu and Tikri borders since November 26.”
Dr GS Grewal, a physician, said, “A number of doctors are helping farmers. Everyone is with farmers.”
Dr Sukhdev Singh Sirsa, general secretary of Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha as well as Progressive Writers Association, said, “Already more than 150 members of ours are at Singhu and Tikri borders. I too will be part of the tractor parade on Tuesday. It will be a historic parade. I hope the government wakes up now.”
“People from all walks of life are coming in this parade,” said advocate Gurnish Singh Manshahia who has been at Tikri border since Saturday along with his wife, mother and a five-year-old son. Along with him are advocates Gurjit Singh Jhanduke and Prithipal Singh SIdhu accompanied by their families.
Gurlabh Singh, from Mansa Bar Association, said, “These advocates went on behalf of Mansa Bar Association. We took out a motorcycle rally in support of farmers in Mansa city Monday afternoon.”
Dr Arvinder Kaur Kakra, a Punjabi poetess, is already in Delhi and so are writers Kuldeep Singh Deep, who hails from Patiala, Bhupinder Sandhu and Ramesh Yadav from Amritsar. Dr Sirsa said, “A number of writers are from rural backgrounds. A number of them have been writing on rural distress on a regular basis. Therefore, we all feel the pain of farmers.”
Gurpreet Singh, a Bathinda-based artist, had been to Singhu and Tikri borders twice.
Women from Istri Jagriti Manch already went to Singhu on Saturday while a few of the farm women leaders will be leading the parade riding the tractors. “Jan aandolans give a message to the governments that people have the right to protest and they can demand their rights. Governments can face stiff protests despite the fact that they have full majority in the House,” said Vikram Dev Singh, president of Democratic Teachers Front.
“Over 500 teachers of Punjab under the banner of DTF have come to be part of this parade, including female teachers as well.”
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