Weather has changed, not our demands: Farmers at Ghazipur border

More than 100 days of the farmers’ protest

Politics

March 13, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Weather has changed, not our demands: Farmers at Ghazipur border

Despite the hot afternoons, dust storms and occasional rain, farmers at the Ghazipur border say their morale remains high (MIG photos/ Richa Nigam)

Solidarity among farmers at Ghazipur protest site shows no signs of waning, with their leaders reaffirming their resolve to carry on the long-drawn movement against new farm laws.

The ongoing farmers’ protest against the three farm laws at Delhi borders, which recently completed 100 days, has formed new solidarities across castes and communities at the Ghazipur border, say the protesting farmers.

Calling themselves the ‘soldiers of Tikait’ (Rakesh Tikait-BKU leader), they say that they will follow their leader’s order and will continue to agitate till the government repeals the three farm laws. They also say that hundreds of other farmers from different states and communities have joined them.

“We are with Tikait and we will follow whatever he says. We are his soldiers. He has kept us united and the protest has been going on because of his efforts. You will find us standing with him in all circumstances,” says Kuldeep Singh, a 66-year-old farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur.

Farmers say that the arrival of warmer temperatures has made their task more difficult, especially in terms of preserving food that they have stocked at the site and in their tents. But they say they have been helped by their villages, farmers at the other borders and even the locals to make their inconveniences lesser.

“We are encountering some problems here with the change in the weather. The same thing happens with us while we work in the fields. We encounter such situations every day in our lives,” Singh adds.

Despite the hot afternoons, dust storms and occasional rain, Singh and other farmers at the Ghazipur border say their morale remains high. However, they also say they are disappointed with the government’s unsympathetic attitude towards their plight and the fact that the Prime Minister or any of the ministers have not even condoled the death of over 200 farmers at protest sites.

“As the government is not sympathetic about what we want while we are alive, I am not surprised that they have not even acknowledged the lives lost here, let alone mourning them,” says Bhopal, another farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand.

By February 20, as many as 248 farmers had already died during the protest says Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a union of 40 farmer unions, that is coordinating the protest.

“Our brothers have died of the bitter cold, our brothers have died fighting from long illnesses, our brothers have been suffering and hoping that the government will listen to us. The government should have at least uttered two words of sympathy for those who came to Delhi from their villages but could not go back alive,” he adds.

By February 20, as many as 248 farmers had already died during the protest (MIG photos/Aman Kanojiya)

Along with Bhopal, stands 80-year-old Shafiq Ahmad, a farmer who joined the protest at the Ghazipur border about a month ago. Ahmad talks about how the protest sites are witnessing a ‘unity in diversity that the country had never witnessed before. “As a country, we have not been very tolerant of different believes and religions in the past. But here, the cause has united us. We have been living and eating together and this is the united and accepting environment of this border that has kept me here,” he says.

Talking about the changes they have witnessed over the last 100 days at the protest site, they say that nothing much has changed, except for their spirit has grown stronger, the government has become more uncaring and the weather has become warmer.

“Nothing has changed. We have been sitting here for more than three months now. The only change is that we have made ourselves more comfortable here. Secondly, I did not expect the government to be this uncaring initially, now I don’t expect much. The weather sure has become warmer and we have put coolers instead of heaters. That is all,” explains Bhopal from Bundelkhand.

Despite the long duration of protest and a total lack of compassion from the government, the farmers say their spirit, enthusiasm and passion for the demands remain the same.

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