‘It’s Our Movement, We’re Not Political Pawns’: Protesting Farmers
The Quint spoke to the farmers in Delhi who responded to allegations of these protests being politically motivated.
CAMERA: ATHAR RATHER
VIDEO EDITOR: DEEPTHI RAMDAS
As thousand of farmers continue to camp at the borders of the national capital, some of them managed to enter Delhi on 27 November. These farmers were then allocated the Nirankari Samagam Ground in Burari by the central government, to stage demonstrations against the three farm laws.
The Quint visited the Nirankari Ground and we spoke to the farmers who responded to allegations of them being misled and these protests being politically motivated.
‘Security at the Delhi Border Is More Stringent Than That at the National Borders’
A farmer from Fazilka district in Punjab, Harbhajan Lal, told us that his village is only a few kilometres from the Indian border with Pakistan, but he hasn’t seen these many security personnel guarding the Indian border as compared to what he has seen when he, along with other farmers, made an attempt to enter Delhi.
“The village I come from is near the India-Pakistan border. Our elders and us, we’ve seen all wars India has fought after Independence. We have never seen so much security personnel even then, as compared to the security that was deployed at the Delhi border to stop the farmers.”Harbhajan Lal, Farmer
He was referring to the police deploying water cannons and using tear gas at the protesting farmers, who had reached the Singhu border early morning on Friday, 27 November.
‘Won’t Budge Until Our Demand Are Met’
Pratibha Shinde, a member of the Jan Sangharsh Morcha and one of the protesters told The Quint that the central government is doing the exact opposite of what they promised in 2014 and 2019.
“Modi ji gave a speech on 23 March and said that we turn the COVID crisis into an opportunity and will strengthen poor farmers and labourers. However, he converted this into an opportunity for the corporates and introduced the three farm laws. The Mandi system which should have been strengthened further, as promised in 2014 under the Swaminathan Commission, he conspired to weaken it instead.”Pratibha Shinde, Jan Sangharsh Morcha
Another farmer from Punjab, Gurcharan Singh, says that they have ration which can last up to six months and the protesters are ready to camp in Delhi even after that if need be.
“We have ration to survive for six months and if this issue is not resolved even then, we will call in for more ration. More farmers will come to Delhi in more tractors. This is not about six months or two months. This is just about the anti-farmer laws which they have forced on us. We want them to take the laws back.”Gurcharan Singh, Farmer
On Being Misled by the Opposition
Responding to the allegations of misled by the opposition and the protests being politically motivated, the farmers said that this is a movement of the people and will remain one.
“There is no political conspiracy here. We haven’t allowed even a single political leader to take to the stage or take charge of the movement. These protests are not affiliated to any political ideology or party. I listen to this on TV every day. They accuse that this movement is being fueled by politicians. Tell us who is a politician among us?”Gurcharan Singh, Farmer
Centre Proposes Dialogue
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, 28 November, offered to hold talks as soon as all the protesting farmers move to the Nirankar Ground. The farmers have, however, rejected the offer.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party has accused the central government of “high-headedness” in handling the matter.
“Modi government should not make this a battle of ego. And wherever the farmers protest in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal’s government will host them provide them with all facilities. Be it water, food or any other requirement, we will help the farmers.”Raghav Chaddha, AAP MLA
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