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Haryana farmers dig in for long haul: ‘have ample time in hand to protest till March-end

Villagers, whom The Indian Express spoke with, said that the wheat sowing is over. “Only spraying of insecticides, water the fields and applying manure to the crop are the works that are required these days. "

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh | December 6, 2020 5:00:52 am
farm protest, farm bills, farm bill protest, punjab farmers protest, haryana farmers protest, indian express newsAt the protest site, Saturday. (Photo by Praveen Khanna)

As the fifth round of talks with the government ended in a deadlock, farmers in Haryana’s Rohtak district say they have ample resources to comfortably carry on with their struggle against the three farm legislations till March. Farmers have made their protest a a chain-agitation and are camping on the borders, in shifts.

Villagers, whom The Indian Express spoke with, said that the wheat sowing is over. “Only spraying of insecticides, water the fields and applying manure to the crop are the works that are required these days. The harvesting is only going to happen in end of March or first week of April.

Thus, farmers have ample time to carry on with their struggle, comfortably,” they said.

Explaining the well-organised manner in which the agitation is proceeding and all set to intensify in the coming days, if the Union government fails to accept the farmers’ demands, Ashok Duhan, a native of Rohtak’s Jassia village, says, “At any given point of time, 50-60 farmers from one village remain present there at the border. Another bunch of 30-40 farmers are rotational. For instance, one batch departs in tractors-trolleys and their personal vehicles in the morning and reach the designated protest points. They relieve those who want to come back to the village for taking care of their fields, or any other household works. By evening, this batch completes their work and go back to the protest point and relieve the batch that had gone there in the morning. That ways, we keep our numbers intact at the protest site. There are others too, who go there in the morning and come back late evening”.

Villages in the region are known for their solidarity and bonding. “Not only Jassia, it is the same story in each and every village. We stand united in this struggle. Be it women, elderly or even young children – everybody is collectively taking care of not only their fields, but also of their neighbours and other villagers who are busy camping at Delhi’s borders”.

“Be it ration, money, fields, medicine etc everything is being taken care of by the villages for those who are participating in the ongoing protest”, said another farmer Vedpal of neighbouring Chamaria village.

Tejbir, another native of Jassia told The Indian Express, “Everybody knows that this government is not honest. They are taking tiny steps. But, the government is not realising that their problems will keep mounting if they prolong their decision. For instance, if today’s talks fail or remain inconclusive, the list of demands will be even bigger in the next meeting. The agitation will keep growing and especially Haryana government will get into a major trouble”.

Duhan adds, “One after another, Independent MLAs are withdrawing their support from the government. If the agitation prolongs, people of Haryana will definitely pull their Independent MLAs out of the government. Then, the pressure will further increase on JJP to clear their stand”.

Vedpal, a native of Khadwali village and camping at Delhi’s border since December 1, says, “My entire family is here at Singhu border since Monday. Only my children are left back at home. But, I am not worried about them. My neighbours are taking care of them. There are around 60-70 tractor trolleys of our village that we have brought here. We have also brought our cars. If we have any important work, we use our cars to do that and then come back here. Otherwise, we have permanently parked our tractors-trolleys here at the protest site”.

Although Haryana’s health department has deployed multiple doctors and ambulances at the protest sites to provide medical treatment to the farmers camping there, Vedpal says, “We do not need any medical support from the government. We have our own doctors, medicines and everything that is required to stay here on the road. We have even brought Halwayis and cooks who take care of people from our village. The fresh supply of fruits and vegetables and other essentials including LPG cylinders etc. is taken care of by others who have stayed back and keep joining us almost daily”.

Contrary to various Haryana politicians including chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar that Haryana’s farmers are not participating in the ongoing agitation, Duhan said, ? Not only one, but there are at least 50-60 tractors-trolleys filled with people from each village including Jassia, Ghuskani, Jindran, Ghilor Khurd, Rithal Phogat, Bahmanwas, Khadwali, and many others

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