100 days farm stir: Farmers hold their ground, but no solution in sight

Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 4

It has been 100 days for the farmers — of being on the road, of blood and sweat and death, of hopelessness and of nearly giving up, of reviving the flailing agitation and standing their ground.

It has been 100 days of an unending struggle that began against the Centre’s three farm laws on November 26 and an equal number of days of having held fort at the Singhu and Tikri borders between Haryana and Delhi despite the barriers that divide.

Protesters block MLA’s entry

Jind: Farmers on Thursday sealed the entry points of their Bhana Brahman village to bar the entry of Ramniwas Surjakhera, JJP MLA from Narwana. They stayed put on roads till the evening. Sources say the MLA was scheduled to reach the village at 11 am. Because of the protest, he delayed his visit. He reached the village at 5.30 pm after the protesters had left the venue in the evening. TNS

To the farmers, all this is progress even though their goal of getting the three laws repealed remains a far cry. The chips might be down, they may be faltering as they grapple with uncertainty but they are sure that the agitation would go on.

“We have not been able to arrive at any substantive plan when it comes to taking the agitation forward. We are holding mahapanchayats, mobilising support, blocking roads, but the Centre doesn’t seem to care. We are repeating what we have already done and we don’t have a plan right now. This, however, does not mean that we will not come up with a strategy soon,” says Haryana’s farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni.

While he admits that the advent of summer would mean dwindling numbers at the protest sites at the two borders where farmers are living in trolleys and gearing up for the heat, Punjab farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal terms this a part of the plan.

“The morcha which has turned 100 days old will continue. We have already urged villages to send one member from every family to keep the protest site alive and vibrant. With the harvesting season approaching, we want only representative groups of farmers as we need hands on the field,” Rajewal claims.

He adds they are moving in a systematic manner since this is going to be a long drawn battle.

On its achievements in the past three months, the leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) are unanimous — it has shown that a long-drawn peaceful agitation against the BJP-led Narendra Modi government is possible, that the divisive policies of the government to fractionalise people along caste lines and culture stand defeated and the brotherhood in villages and the states of Punjab and Haryana stands restored.

As winter turns to spring turns to summer, the farmers are preparing for the long haul and all of them want the talks with the Centre to resume. In the absence of a dialogue, there can be no headway, no scope of a middle path, only silence as the fault lines get deeper and the “borders” are fortified further.

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