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Monday, January 25, 2021

In bid to draw support, Punjab farm leaders begin travelling to other states

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), said, “I am going to Patna on December 29 as a mega protest rally is being organised by many farmer organisations of Bihar on that day.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Updated: December 25, 2020 8:06:10 am
Farm bills, farmers protest, framers protest at singu border, farmers protest news, indian express newsAs part of the plan, Satbir Singh, the state general secretary of the Kirti Kisan Union (KKU), Punjab, was in Mumbai on Tuesday. (File)

Farmer leaders from Punjab protesting at Delhi borders have started travelling to different parts of the country from the dharna site to connect them to the ongoing agitation. Protesting unions now plan to take the agitation to 20 states covering nearly 500 districts by December end, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has claimed.

As part of the plan, Satbir Singh, the state general secretary of the Kirti Kisan Union (KKU), Punjab, was in Mumbai on Tuesday where he was part of protest rally organised by former MP Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Paksha and by social activist Pratibha Shind.

Talking to The Indian Express, Satbir Singh said, “KKU’s national wing All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) was also part of this protest. I had gone alone from Punjab as KKU is part of 32 farmer unions from Punjab protesting on a common platform. I was deputed by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC). The NDA government is repeatedly saying that protest is limited to Punjab, but in fact, we are being called by unions of other states as well, which shows that protest is everywhere in the state, but the government is not admitting it.

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of another farmer union from Punjab, BKU (Dakaunda) and also a working committee member of the AIKSCC, said,” I am going to Patna on December 29 as a mega protest rally is being organised by many farmer organisations of Bihar on that day and I will be there as an AIKSCC member and also as a representative of a Punjab farm union. I will talk with local farmers there and their union leaders. Farmers are under distress but as the NDA government is not repealing the farm laws, this movement is aggressively spreading nationwide.

Talking about the role of Punjab unions in making the protest spread, P Krishnaprasad, working committee member of AIKSCC and a former Kerala MLA who is in Delhi these days, said: “Punjab is the powerhouse of this agitation against farm laws. They started aandolan in a very peaceful manner and reached Delhi borders which gave strength to crores of farmers. So, Punjab leaders are travelling to other states as well, because agitation against farm laws is being done by the farming community and not by any particular state. A narrative is being given by Centre that protest is limited to Punjab which is wrong. Earlier, they were not admitting the participation of Haryana but now they admit to it.

He added: “Farmers of UP and Uttarakhand are at Ghazipur border while farmers of Rajasthan, and few Haryana districts and MP are at Shahjahanpur borders. Parallel protests on the lines of Singhu and Tikri are going on at those places. Apart from this protests are going on in 15 districts of Chhattisgarh, 14 districts each of Telangana and Kerala, protests are going on in West Bengal and Maharashtra as well. So, this movement is becoming nationwide and PM Narendra Modi is helping in spreading it by not repealing the laws and ignoring the farmers sitting on Delhi borders for the past one month.

Krishnaprasad claimed that “by December end, this protest will spread in about 20 states of India covering nearly 500 districts apart from people from many districts marching to Delhi too”.

Amraram, Vice-President of All India Kisan Sangh and a former Rajasthan MLA, said: “Farmers from Ganganagar, Hanumangarh. Churu, Nagaur, Dausa, Alwar, Jaipur etc have come with me and we are stuck at Shahjahanpur border because Haryana is not allowing us to cross from Rewari side which is towards Shahjahanpur border. We have been sitting here since December 13. Haryana’s barriers are 3-4 layered in the form of boulders, barbed wire barricades, cranes placed ahead and later even road digging has also been done. However, as per our coordination with Samyukt Kisan Morcha including 32 farmer unions of Punjab, we have been told to stay put rather than breaking barricades. Our 15 women farmer leaders were on hunger strike on Tuesday. Punjab’s leaders have come here and have addressed farmers 2-3 times. Farmers of Rajasthan, MP and even thousands of Haryana farmers have also joined us and we are now sitting across a 3-km area. I hope the government is aware that farmers are protesting out in the cold on various roads approaching Delhi. We all want repeal of farm laws or we will add more in numbers.

Many donors from Punjab and Haryana are contributing ration, essential items even at Shahjahanpur border as well while farmers themselves have also come with stock of dry ration.

“On December 29, mega rallies will be organised in many areas of India i.e. in Bhubaneswar, in Tamil Nadu, Patna, Maharashtra and few more areas as well. AIKSCC will depute leaders who are part of 500 farmer unions of AIKSCC and are protesting at Delhi for the past 1 month to visit these places. We are assigning duties soon,” said Krishnaprasad.

“Labour unions will also add to our numbers. The farming community has united, it is high time that workers will also come under the same platform to fight for amendments done during Covid period. Punjab-Haryana and some parts of UP have a strong mandi system where two crops are purchased on MSP. Farmers always wanted a strong and secure mandi system for them in all states and now farm laws are giving a threat to it. This aandolan is now countrywide, it is high time that our PM should accept it, otherwise numbers are going to increase further. Desh vyapak banane ke liye doosri states mein ja rahe hain (to spread it in the whole country, we are going in other states as well,” said Satbir Singh after visiting Mumbai.

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