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Farmers’ protest: As their numbers swell, Haryana farmers say they will surpass Punjab count

Farmers' protest: According to a police officer, there are about 30,000 farmers at Singhu border while 20,000 more are at Tikri border. Agitators dispute the police estimates adding the numbers are much bigger.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh |
Updated: December 10, 2020 3:46:41 pm
farmers protests, framer protests delhi borders, haryana farmers, punjab farmers, farm laws, indian express newsFarmers block a highway at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana. (AP Photo)

The ongoing farmers’ protest at Delhi borders has seen a swift rise in participation from Haryana with those not backing the protest being dubbed as “traitors” in the state’s villages. The “traitor” taunts are one among the many reasons that more from Haryana has come out in to back the stir.

One yardstick of the agitation’s rising popularity was the hashtag — “#Dushyant_Kisan Ya_ Kursi” — deriding the state’s Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala that was trending on micro-blogging site Twitter with 1.6 lakh tweets till Wednesday evening.

Dushyant is facing ire of farmers for supporting the alliance government in Haryana and not siding by the agitators.

A farmer leader from Hisar, Suresh Koth, who is camping at Singhu border, said, “Almost 40 per cent of the total farmers at Singhu border are now from Haryana while the rest are from Punjab.”

A farmer leader from Fatehabad, Mandeep Nathwan, who is camping at Tikri border since November 26, added, “At Tikri border, the number of farmers from Haryana and Punjab is almost equal but Haryana participation is likely to surpass Punjab numbers within a week.”

However, a senior officer of Haryana Police claims that participation from Haryana is just 10 per cent, but admitted the number of agitators from Haryana has increased in past one week. According to the officer, in total there are about 30,000 farmers at Singhu border while 20,000 more are at Tikri border. Agitators dispute the police estimates adding the numbers are much bigger.

Haryana DGP Manoj Yadava said that the police will keep an eye on the situation at ground level so that no untoward incident takes place “We deal the agitations keeping in view the angle of law and order. Our officials remain in touch with the leaders of farmers as sometime many people fall ill too there,” Yadava told The Indian Express.

The inquiries from Haryana villages revealed that farmers have been arranging vehicles on their own to move to the Delhi border without mobilisation by any leader. A large number of farmers from Haryana go to Delhi borders in the morning and return by the evening. A section of them have now even started camping there.

“We called them traitors who did not go to Delhi borders in support of agitating farmers,” said a khap leader from Fatehabad district, Sube Singh Samain.

Explaining reasons behind spreading the agitation, a khap leader from Jind, Tek Ram Kandela, said, “The farmers are not satisfied with the offers of the central government. We will follow whatever decision the 40 member committee of farmer leaders takes.”

farmers protests, framer protests delhi borders, haryana farmers, punjab farmers, farm laws, indian express news Farmers protest at Shambhu Toll Plaza, at the border in Ambala. (Express Photo: Harmeet Sodhi)

Kandela is with ruling BJP and was contender for the party ticket during Jind bypoll in early 2019. Later, the Khattar government in March 2019 had appointed him as chairman of Haryana State Cooperative Labour and Construction Federation Limited (Labourfed). After the formation of new government following October 2019 polls, Kandela was not given any assignment in the government.

It’s not only that Haryana farmers are participating enthusiastically in the stir but they even supply ration uninterruptedly to the agitators camping at the Delhi borders. Sources claim, the residents of Karsola village of Jind have sent 50 quintal laadoos while neighbouring village Ujhana residents have sent 10,000 litres of milk to the agitators till now. Residents of Manoharpur (Jind) have sent 1,000 litres of milk to the agitators. The residents of Pauli village have collected Rs five lakh to arrange a langar for those are marching to Delhi borders.

“There is hardly any farmer who is not opposing these laws in Haryana now,” admitted a BJP MP from Haryana requesting anonymity. A senior JJP leader too admitted the overwhelming support to the stir but added that “it’s difficult for the Centre to talk with 40 leaders at a time”.

However, Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Chaduni said, “We are united and have common demand, scrap all three farm laws.”

Initially, the farmer movement in Haryana was mainly restricted to Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Ambala and Fatehabad districts as these districts have active farm bodies. However, there was undercurrent among the farmers in other parts of the state too.

A JJP leader said the efforts by Haryana Police to halt the movement of farmers from moving to Delhi proved “counter-productive” with the move energising the Haryana farmers. “Without being stopped, farmers could have gone to Delhi and may have just organised a rally there,” said the JJP leader. However, the Haryana Police tried to halt their movement anticipating that the agitators were planning to go Delhi with ration for several days

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