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'The world will see farmers' resolve today'

By PRASANNA D ZORE
January 26, 2021 11:57 IST
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'There will be more than three to four lakh tractors and farmers, four to five times that number, displaying their resolve in front of a deaf, mute and a government blind to their plight.'

IMAGE: Farmers hold the Tricolor as they ride on a tractor in Jaipur during their protest against the Centre's farm reform laws, on the eve of Republic Day. Photograph: PTI Photo
 

With about 1.5 million (15 lakh) farmers estimated to participate in the tractor rally organised by the farmers agitating for repeal of three farm laws enacted by Narendra Damodardas Modi's government, the organising farmers' associations are pretty sure that the rally will pass of peacefully as India celebrates the 72nd anniversary of her Republic Day when India's Constitution came into force.

It is the same Constitution that the farmers will be swearing in on as they will march along five different routes on which the Delhi police and Modi government have permitted farmers' tractor parades to demand repeal of the three farm laws and enact a law that will guarantee a minimum support price for their farm produce.

Dr Ashish Mittal, general secretary of the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, and Abhimanyu Kohar, national spokesperson of the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, tell Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com about their plans.

The All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha and Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh are constituents of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation representing more than 40 major farmers' unions across India.


Dr Abhishek Mittal, general secretary, All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha

'Our Constitution is Supreme'

Photographs: Kind courtesy All India Kisan Sabha Coordination Committee

It is the Indian Constitution that gives us strength to fight against this government's injustice and high-handedness.

Our Constitution is Supreme and all the agitating farmers will abide our absolute faith in the sacred document to protect our lives and livelihoods.

What the protesters will do

In the morning there will be flag hoisting at the centre of different borders from where our parade will start and then they will move along the designated route.

Farmers coming from different parts of India will have India's national flag along with their organisation's flag; there will be placards highlighting the harassment and disrespect shown by the government towards the farmers and our demands. There will be people standing with the national flags all along the route.

We will be raising slogans pleading with the government to listen to us and accept our demand.

India's Constitution does not grant the government the freedom to not listen to its own people. Today is the day of political struggle in which the nation's farmers will join in in their lakhs.

I expect over 15 lakh people to be on tractors at all the designated routes permitted by the Delhi police.

All the tractors will stay put in Delhi for a couple of days; we will wait for the government to respond to our demands for a day or two and after that we will announce our next plan of action.

There will be tens and thousands of tractors coming and going (in and out of various Delhi borders) like they have been doing since the agitation began two months ago so that there is not much logistics problem and not much traffic disturbance.

'We expect more trouble from the police than from any other quarter'

The police have so far said that they will cooperate with the protesters, but to be honest we expect more trouble from the police than from any other quarter.

If the police had allowed us to take our parade on the routes we had asked for, or let us know the routes we were allowed for a few days before, things would have been much better and smoother. Only at the last moment they are sending us these messages (about the permission and routes).

'They purposely gave us this permission at the last minute'

The Delhi police have given us permission for five routes, but they purposely gave us this permission at the last minute.

With so many people surrounding Delhi and telling them that you have to listen to farmers it is the government which will have to make a choice whether it will stand with the corporates or stand with the farmers.

'We are not being adamant because we don't want to precipitate matters'

The government has split the parade into five parts and they are allowing parade on only the routes that are touching Delhi only to some extent; the Delhi police has disallowed the Ring Road route which we had sought permission, for but still we have accepted whatever route is allowed because we want to put pressure on the government.

We are not being adamant because we don't want to precipitate matters, but at the same time continue putting pressure on the government by our show of peaceful strength.

'The rally's scale will be unprecedented; the world will see our resolve'

But let me assure you that the kind of participation from farmers across India will be unprecedented; of the scale that the world has never seen before.

There will be at least three to four lakh tractors surrounding Delhi at various borders.

From Gazipur there will be one lakh tractors; from Singhu one-and-a-half lakh and about one lakh from Tikri.

However, we will not be congregating all together at any spot; we will be moving around in our own circles that have been allowed by the Delhi police.

'Police propaganda'

That there will be trouble by anti-national elements during our peaceful parade is all police propaganda.

There are people (mischief mongers) who keep coming in like this; it has happened at Singhu and all other centres; anybody who will be trying to break the discipline or play any mischief and not part of any farmers' organisation, we will catch and hand them over to the police.

***

Abhimanyu Kohar, national spokesperson, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh

Tractor rally is display of farmers' resolve

Our tractor rally will be peaceful in its entirety; our farmer volunteers will ensure that no matter what (even in the face of provocations).

There will be more than three to four lakh tractors and farmers, four to five times that number, displaying their resolve in front of a deaf, mute and a government blind to their plight.

There will be farmers coming from all the states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan.

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