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Monday, March 01, 2021

Tractors omnipresent, so is Tricolour: Protesters say one on every vehicle

Farmers have been instructed to drive their tractors ‘aaram-aaram se’ and to maintain three tractors per row while moving. Everyone has also been instructed to have the national flag on their tractors.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: January 26, 2021 7:51:04 am
Tractors omnipresent, so is Tricolour: Protesters say one on every vehicleBefore the rally, the national flag will also be hoisted at a stage erected on the Ghazipur flyover. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Ahead of Tuesday’s farmers’ rally, tractors poured into Ghazipur throughout Monday, with the Tricolour omnipresent at the protest site.

As of Monday afternoon, trucks, tractors, trolleys and cars of farmers occupied more than 2 km of the Ghazipur flyover and below it, with the size of the protest there expanding considerably in the run-up to Republic Day. Organisers said they had initially estimated that 10,000-15,000 tractors would participate in the rally there, but had increased their estimate to 30,000.

“It is not possible for us to make a clear estimate as tractors are coming in continuously. Farmers and tractors from nearby districts and villages are expected to continue coming in till Tuesday morning,” said Jagtar Singh Bajwa, spokesperson of the Ghazipur Kisan Andolan Committee.

To manage a rally of the scale planned for Tuesday, the Ghazipur protest coordinators will engage more than 300 volunteers for security and traffic control. According to Bajwa, the biggest concern with regard to the rally is maintaining peace and security.

“All our volunteers for Tuesday are sons of farmers. A set of them will be in charge of videography, which will also help us track and make sure that no unwanted elements join the rally. Our entire route comes up to 46 km and we have divided it into 12 sectors for logistics. We will be placing volunteers in charge of those sectors; it will be their responsibility to make sure all tractors move in a line and none overtake each other. They will supervise turns in the road and if anybody tries to join midway, they are to be directed to join right at the tail end of the rally. We have arranged for bikes for the volunteers as well,” he said.

Farmers have been instructed to drive their tractors ‘aaram-aaram se’ and to maintain three tractors per row while moving. Everyone has also been instructed to have the national flag on their tractors.

Before the rally, the national flag will also be hoisted at a stage erected on the Ghazipur flyover.

Among those who arrived at the border just ahead of Tuesday were 25 farmers from Deora Khas village in Sambhal district on a tractor-trolley. “We had left at around 6 pm on Sunday evening and we reached at 4 this morning. We had travelled with 50 other tractors from our district. Everybody in our village is ready to come and be a part of this movement,” said Aham Singh Yadav (55). Relaxing on the trolley with them was Sarvesh Kumar Kathiyar, a 53-year-old who arrived that morning after boarding a bus from Kanpur district with a friend.

Prashant Chahal (23) arrived on Sunday night from Bhagain village in Bijnor district in a tractor-trolley with 11 other people from his village. “There were already two such tractors from our village at the site and five more are on their way and will arrive in the night,” he said.

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