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Farmers Protest against farm laws completes 200 days

Discussion with farmers after 200 days of Farmers protest and checked what precautions they are taking against Covid -19

Swati Sharma
farmers protest will continue
farmers protest will continue

Farmers protest against three farm laws complete 200 days on Sunday, but a newer and more significant challenge confronts them now - second and more severe Covid-19 wave. Despite the rapid increase in active cases for over a month now, farmers and farm outfits have no plan to vacate the protest sites and are determined to continue on the way of confrontation. 

One of the largest farm organizations of Punjab, BKU [Ekta Ugrahan], has given a call for farmers to join protests in large numbers on April 21. Haryana farmers have also given an ultimatum of closing down Bahadurgarh toll plaza on April 21. 

 Any whisper of rising concern regarding the spike in Corona cases are being put out with examples of lakhs of people being allowed to gather for the Kumbh, big political rallies in West Bengal, and so on. 

 We are concerned about the safety of protestors, but we cannot afford to vacate the protest sites without the Government repealing the farm laws. If we end the protest, we are not sure of getting this momentum again, said BKU [General secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan. 

Taking Precautions and ready for the onslaught 

 We are taking precautions and also are ready for an onslaught, even if it is only against us and not against lakhs of people whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed in big rallies even yesterday, added Kokri Kalan. 

 We are worried about the safety of protestors against this deadly wave of covid and have been asking them to take every precaution, including wearing face masks, and have even asked the Government to set up vaccination centres at the protest sites. But we are not vacating the protest sites and will not allow the central or Haryana Government to use force to evict us, Added vice president Manjit Singh Dhaner [BKU]. He pointed out that even the wheat harvesting and procurement season has not affected the protests as women have been significant support. 

After October 1, 2020, 30 farm organizations sounded the bugle of protests after the president put his signatures to turn the Acts into laws. On September 27, farmers began the protest at railway tracks, toll plazas, business establishments of some corporate houses, including petrol stations of Reliance group, and outside the residences of many BJP leaders across Punjab. There has been no let-up in the protest since then. Farmers ended protests on railway tracks to allow the movement of trains but have continued protests elsewhere. As per the National Highway Authority of India claims, it has, so far, incurred a loss of more than Rs 600 crore due to the freeing of toll plazas. On the other hand, farmers claim over 300 of their brethren have lost lives during the protests. 

 At present, protests in Punjab are being held up at 68 places by 30 farm organizations, while BKU [Ekta Ugrahan] has continued to hold them at 42 points, apart from the protests on the Delhi borders. It may take many more months of protests on  

More months of protests and farmers are ready for the long and sustainable battle despite hardships, including Covid. The Government is testing our patience, but farmers are and will remain in high spirits, claimed Kokri Kalan. 

On Sunday, the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha[SKM] said that the post- covid lockdown data reveals a poor performance in all sectors, barring the agriculture sector. The centre has ignored farmers and laborers during the previous lockdown period but does not seem to have learned any lesson as health services and social security in the country are the same as last year, the Morcha activists said. 

Migrant laborers may have to walk again and may also destroy the crop of farmers, but they will not tolerate the oppressive instructions of the Government, they added. The Government should fight the rising pandemic instead of fighting the hardworking farmers and laborers, they said. 

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