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Monday, March 08, 2021

Haryana khaps take up task of guarding farmers

On Sunday, khap leaders, along with a big cavalcade of vehicles, arrived at Singhu and Tikri.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach , Ananya Tiwari | Chandigarh/new Delhi |
Updated: February 1, 2021 4:36:36 am
Singhu farmers protest, farmers protests in delhi, Rakesh Tikait, khap panchayats, Haryana, Singhu, Farmers protests, india news, indian expressFarmers at Singhu border. (Express File Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Following clashes at the Singhu border, khap panchayats in Haryana said they will take up the responsibility of protecting farmers at the capital’s borders. The announcement was made amid growing support for the farmers’ agitation in the state.

On Sunday, khap leaders, along with a big cavalcade of vehicles, arrived at Singhu and Tikri. “Nobody can dare to target our kisan brothers who are staging dharnas peacefully. All of Haryana and Delhi stands by you,” senior khap leader Sombir Sangwan announced at Singhu.

An independent MLA from Charkhi Dadri constituency, Sangwan, apart from withdrawing support from the BJP-JJP government, had resigned as chairman of the Haryana Livestock Development Board in support of the agitation two months ago.

In a speech, Sangwan said, “Sikh gurus and Sikh brothers have played the biggest role in protecting Hindustan… After farmers from Punjab took the lead to launch the agitation, it has now spread to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of the country. Punjab farmers have done a great job in saving our democracy.”

According to Sangwan, thousands of farmers from villages that fall under the jurisdiction of the khaps in Jakhar, Birohar, Gehlawat and Sangwan reached Delhi borders on Sunday.

Speaking to The Indian Express, he claimed “paid workers” were sent to Singhu to break up the protest: “10,000 youths from Haryana will be on standby, who will reach any spot if needed in an hour. We have asked khaps in the surrounding areas of Delhi to keep an eye out for paid workers. It is our responsibility to provide security to farmers.”

Villages, meanwhile, have given a call to boycott BJP-JJP leaders. Several khaps have announced that leaders of the ruling alliance won’t be allowed to enter villages until the three “anti-farmer laws” are repealed.

On Sunday, villagers of Daulatpur summoned former Fatehabad MLA Balwan Singh Daulatpuria to a social panchayat. He said: “They told me I won’t be allowed to remain in the BJP. I accepted their decision as I preferred the support of my brothers from the village and farmers.”

A former INLD MLA, Daulatpuria had joined the BJP ahead of the 2019 Assembly polls. “The Centre should repeal the three laws, keeping in mind the sentiments of farmers,” he said.

In several villages in the state, funds are being collected from villagers to continue the agitation for a longer period.

Even as the Haryana government extended suspension of mobile internet services till Monday evening, hundreds of farmers continued to mobilise and head to the dharna sites. The impact of the video of BKU leader Rakesh Tikait weeping continued to be seen among farmers.

Paramjeet, a sarpanch from Rohtak district, who arrived at Tikri on Saturday, told The Indian Express, “Earlier, most tractors from Haryana used to head back home at night. But now, we have got food, firewood and essentials with us. We will stay here in support. Around 1,500 tractors have come after khap panchayats across Haryana decided to send more men to the protests.”

Jitender Deshwal (42) from Jhajjar district said, “We came on January 26 for the parade but went back the same day. Now we are coming to stay.” Pradeep Deshwal, who was accompanying him, said, “We have been part of the protest for three months. To support the movement, we have 100-150 tractors with us. We are against the BJP-driven conspiracy to defame the movement on Republic Day.”

Menpal (32) from Hisar district said, “Around 10 of us from Mirchpur village arrived here on Friday. I have been a part of this protest for two months on and off. We went back on Republic Day as there were too many people here. We will stay here now.”

Suresh (52), who was with Menpal, said, “We will only go back when they repeal the three laws. The farmers did not do any propaganda or violence. I was part of the parade and I was only able to go up to Peeragarhi.”

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