Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 25
Six months after they descended on the Delhi border seeking repeal of the three farm laws, the protesting farmers may have been forgotten by the Centre amid the Covid surge, but their movement is still alive.
Farmers at several places in Punjab put up black flags atop their houses, led protest marches and burnt effigies of central government leaders on Wednesday. Protests were witnessed in Punjab's Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar and Mohali districts. In Zirakpur, farmers protested at the Singapura lights point. Slogans against the Centre were raised in Landran village. In Amritsar, farmers raised anti-government slogans and burnt effigies of central government leaders. In the Jalandhar district, protests were held at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala and on the Nakodar road.
In Haryana too, state BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni has appealed farmers to hoist black flags on their houses and vehicles to register their protest.
Several political parties including the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party have extended their support to the farmers' call of observing the day as 'black day'.
Farmers in Dandoor village of Hisar district on Wednesday raised anti-government slogans and burned the effigy of the BJP government to mark the Black Day on the completion of six months of farmers agitation against the three farms laws.
In Jhajjar, farmers hoisted black flags and took out a motorbike rally at the Tikri border to mark the completion of six months of their protest at Delhi borders.
"Six months have passed since the farmers' protest at Delhi borders against the three farm legislations began," said Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher, slamming the Central government for not scrapping the legislations.
Pandher and Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that besides hoisting black flags at houses and vehicles, effigies of the BJP-led Union government will also be burnt.
As #KisanAndolan completes 6 months today, I again urge the Centre to deal compassionately with farmers & repeal the black laws. Have hoisted a #BlackFlag atop my Badal residence today & likewise @Akali_Dal_ leaders & workers have done the same observing #Black_Day_Of_Farmers. pic.twitter.com/HO72LRepXy— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) May 26, 2021
Farmers burnt the effigy of Chief Minister Manohar Lal khattar in Bhiwani village.
In Manimajra, pro-farmer organisations burnt effigies of PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah to mark the 6-month long protest against the agro-market laws.
Protest flags, slogans and marches at three Delhi border points
Farmers agitating at three Delhi border points raised black flags, shouted anti-government slogans, burnt effigies and took out protest marches.
A brief ruckus was also reported from the Ghazipur protest site where farmers burnt an effigy of the central government amid heavy police deployment.
As part of their 'black day' protest, the farmers put up black flags and burnt effigies of government leaders at the three border points -- Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri -- to register their protest against the three laws as well as the Centre.
The Delhi Police has urged people not to hold gatherings due to the COVID-19 situation and the ongoing lockdown and said it is keeping a tight vigil to deal with any situation at the protest sites.
Senior farmer leader Avtar Singh Mehma said that black flags have been hoisted not only at the protest sites but also in villages in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, adding that villagers have put up black flags atop their houses as well as on their vehicles.
"Effigies of government leaders were burnt. This day is to reiterate the fact that it has been six months since we have been protesting, but the government, which also completes seven years in office today, is not listening to us," said Mehma.
All those in solidarity of their movement also donned black turbans and dupattas.
At the Singhu border, protestors gathered at the Kajaria Tiles office, held meetings, and took out a march towards the stage.
Farmer leader Kulwant Singh said, "The protesters took out a march carrying black flags. They burnt Prime Minister Narendra Modi's effigy while raising slogans against the three farm laws.
"We are urging people to support farmers by putting the black flag at their residence and other places," he said.
On Tuesday, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued notices to Delhi, UP, Haryana on the alleged flouting of COVID norms by the protesting farmers.
The Delhi Police too had urged people not to hold gatherings due to the COVID-19 situation and the ongoing lockdown.
However, Mehma said that the government shouldn't have introduced the three laws during the pandemic in the first place.
"If the government wants us to go back then it should listen to us and repeal the laws, because we are not going anywhere unless our demands are met.
"It is not our hobby to sit in the heat and the cold at the borders. We also want to go back home and be safe," the farmer leader told PTI.
Police force has been in place at all the borders points, including the protest sites of Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, since Tuesday.
At Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, hundreds of farmers, led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, converged into groups as they burnt an effigy of the Centre in protest.
A ruckus briefly ensued between protestors and the local police, donning anti-riot gears, who had tried to stop them from burning the effigy at the UP Gate below the Delhi-Meerut Expressway.
While many BKU supporters held black flags in their hands, several others had placards that condemned the government and demanded withdrawal of the contentious laws, even as COVID-19 protocols on social distancing and face masks were largely amiss at the site.
Tikait, who has been leading the protest at Ghazipur since November 2020 and had become a prominent face of the protest after the January 26 violence in Delhi, was seen sporting a black-colour turban and a black flag.--with agencies
"We will continue the farmer protests till the time Centre repeals the farm laws. We had planned to protest by putting tri-colour flags. However, the authorities had objections to it and hence, we decided to mark this protest by hoisting black flags", said Tikait.--with agencies
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