Thousands gather at Delhi’s Singhu border in support of farmers

Prepared to continue the agitation peacefully, say protesting farmers

Politics

December 8, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

Thousands gather at Delhi’s Singhu border in support of farmers

Leaders of NAPM, along with advocates, student organisations, artists & many others gathered at Singhu Border to express solidarity with farmers

In response to a call by Medha Patkar’s NAPM, academicians, artists, leaders, advocates, student organisations and members of the civil society gathered at Singhu border on Monday to express solidarity and appealed for intensification & continuation of peaceful protests against the three farm bills.

On the eve of the nationwide strike or Bharat Bandh called by the protesting farmers, leaders of National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM), along with advocates, student organisations, artists and many other prominent personalities gathered at Singhu Border to express solidarity with ongoing farmers’ nation-wide protests and endorsed the call for Bharat Bandh on December 8.

The call for a gathering at the border, by NAPM, came after several rounds of failed negotiation between the protesting farmers in Delhi and the union government, over the three highly controversial Farm Acts.

Medha Patkar, a social activist and founder of Narmada Bachao Aandolan, addressed thousands of farmers and other activists gathered at Singhu border and reminded them of continuing to agitate for their rights and against the corporatisation of farming. She also called it an ‘agrarian crisis in the land of agriculturists’.

Advocate Aradhna Bhargava from Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Rajkumar Sinha from NAPM, Madhya Pradesh, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey & Shankar Singh from the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) were also present at the border and rallied in support of the protesting farmers.

NAPM leaders said that three Farm Acts and the Electricity Bill which together are bound to corporatize farming and makes lives of millions of farmers, especially small and marginal farmers, increasingly precarious.

“Far from paying heed to the farmers’ concerns, the government has met the protestors with lathi charge, water cannons despite the cold, and trenches to stop their march,” Mohammad Nishad, a member of All India Student Federation, told Media India Group.

“With the help of their allies in the mainstream media, politicians of the ruling party have cast aspersions on the intentions behind the protests, labelling the farmers from Punjab as ‘proponents of Khalistan and secessionists’, much like the way dissenters of all hues have been termed ‘Urban Naxals’ in an attempt to delegitimise them in the eyes of the wider public,” Nishad added.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Bharat Bandh, protesting farmers at Delhi’s Singhu border have appealed for peace and clarified that no shops and establishments will be forcibly closed on account of the Bandh. “There will be complete ‘Bharat bandh’ till 3 pm Tuesday, but emergency services including ambulances and marriage processions will be allowed,” says farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal. Rajewal reiterated the farmers’ stand, saying they will not accept anything less than the withdrawal of the three new farm laws by the Centre.

Artists of Sambrala, a theatre group from Ambala, Punjab also came in support of the protests and performed at the Singhu border to express solidarity with the farmers who have camped there for more than 10 days now.

“That the vibrant protests have been thriving and surviving despite multiple attacks by the State and fake narratives is testimony to the spirit of the farming community across India and especially the farmers from Punjab and the neighbouring states who have set-up indefinite camp in Delhi,” Jaspal Singh, leader of Sambrala theatre group, told Media India Group.

Amid the increasing cold and despite several attempts to discredit their protest, thousands of farmers continue to camp at the outskirts of the national capital and are ready to stay put at the place for as long as it takes them to get what is theirs.

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