70-Yr-Old to BCom Student, Meet the People Behind Farmers’ Protest
At the Singhu border, The Quint spoke to a motley group of people who are part of the protests against farm laws.
The protests by farmers against the three contentious laws reached a crescendo on Tuesday, 8 December, with the 'Bharat Bandh' called by farm leaders making a mark in several parts of the country.
The borders of Delhi-NCR have become the epicentre of the agitation. Not just the farmers, people from other walks of life have also joined in to express solidarity.
At the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana, The Quint spoke to a motley group of people who are part of the protests in one way or the other. Here's a snapshot of who they are and why they are protesting.
‘Laws a Death Warrant’
Sumer Singh, 68, Hoshiarpur
Sumer Singh provides tea to the protesters at Singhu Border.
“I am a small farmer with only two acres of land. These laws are a death warrant for me and my family. I have come here with 10 others from my village,” he said.
“Everyone is welcome to our protests. Even (PM) Modi can come and have tea here. We just want him to come and speak to us and understand that these laws will kill our livelihood. I have two sons back home who are taking care of our fields. I am here because it’s about their future.”Sumer Singh, Hoshiarpur
‘They Will Ruin Generations to Come’
Sardar Santhok Singh, 70, Tarn Taran
Sardar Santhok Singh got injured during the police action as the farmers marched from Punjab to Delhi.
"When we started from Punjab, things were peaceful. But as soon as we entered Haryana, the police used water cannons and tear gas on us. That is when I got injured. But, I didn't move at all. And we have decided that we won't go back until these blacks laws are repealed. These laws will be the end of us. They will ruin our generations to come," Singh said.
‘Don’t Really Have to Be a Farmer to Be Here’
Rajini, 35 Uttarakhand
Rajini is a women’s rights activist who has travelled all the way from Uttarakhand to participate in the farmers' agitation. She believes that the current issue is also a major issue for women farmers as they will be the ones who will suffer the most because of the three laws.
"I think it's time that we acknowledge the role of women in agriculture. These new laws will severely affect poor women farmers and labourers. We are also trying to mobilise farmers in Uttarakhand to raise their voice against these black laws. You don't really have to be a farmer to be here. When a farmer can feed all of us, then why can we not stand up for the farmers when they need us the most?" she said.
‘All of us Understand the Nuances of the Laws’
Ramandeep Singh, 25, Rajpura
Ramandeep is a 25-year-old farmer who believes that the three new laws will ruin whatever little is left for him in the agricultural sector.
"All of us here, young and old, understand the nuances of the three laws. I don't know who is trying to establish and why, that a farmer is a fool who can easily be misled," he said.
Ramandeep believes that technology has played a very important role in their movement. "Thanks to Modiji's ‘Digital India’, all of us and our parents knew how to operate smartphones. So, those who think that someone else is trending hashtags for us, should visit here and speak to the farmers. We understand English and we know how to operate Twitter."
‘This Fight is For Everyone Who Eats Food’
Maulana Amjad, 26, Delhi
Maulana Amjad, along with others from his locality, are serving food and coffee to the protesters.
“I am not from Punjab and nor am I a farmer. I am from Narela in Delhi. But, today I am here serving food to these protesters because I want to tell everybody that this fight isn't just of the farmers or of a particular community. This fight is for everyone who eats food. This will affect all of us and we must stand in solidarity with these farmers,” Amjad said.
‘Here for My Children and Their Future’
Daljit Singh, 42, Amritsar
Daljit Singh is a father of two 10-year-olds, who are back home along with his wife. He owns 10 acres of land and has come here in his own tractor and trolley to participate in the protests.
He said whatever he makes round the year goes into the education of his children and basic expenses.
“I am ready to stay here as long as the government doesn't withdraw these laws. I am here for my children and their future. What will they eat, otherwise?” he added.
'Farmers Are the Ones Who Feed Us'
Tavleen Kaur, 20, Delhi
Tavleen Kaur is studying BCom in Delhi and has come to the protests along with her family.
“I think it is very important for all of us to stand with the farmers of our country because they are the ones who feed us. I would urge the government, especially PM Modi, to listen to address their concerns regarding the new laws.”Tavleen Kaur, Delhi
Tavleen said that she has been visiting the protests regularly over the last few days, and is uploading videos on social media to help the farmers’ message reach a wider audience because she believes the mainstream media has failed them.
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