Ahead of a proposed ‘tractor parade’ in Delhi on Republic day, several batches of Punjab farmers are all set to start tractor marches on January 20 from various parts of the State to Delhi to participate in the ongoing agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC), a prominent outfit at the forefront of the agitation, has announced that thousands of farmers and farm labourers from Tarn-Taran, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ferozpur and Kapurthala region will start marching on tractor-trolleys etc., to the National Capital to ensure the success of a ‘tractor parade’.
KMSC general secretary Sarvan Singh Pandher told The Hindu that all farmers were busy preparing to move to Delhi in different batches during the week. “On January 20, at least 1,000 tractor-trolleys will start their march from Tarn-Taran district alone to Delhi,” he said.
“Besides, thousands of farmers from other districts will also travel to Delhi over the next few days,” he added.
The ‘rail roko’ agitation of the KMSC in Amritsar on Monday entered 117th day.
Plea of ex-Servicemen
Meanwhile, a group of ex-Servicemen, including officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Border Security Force, urged the agitating farmers not to disrupt the Republic Day events.
A statement signed by 22 ex-Servicemen said, “We are confident that our dear farmer brothers do not have any intent to disrupt any formal event on the Republic Day… Some statements had created uncertainties, which should be removed as soon as possible. We are sure that our farmer brothers can’t even think in dream of acting in such a manner, which would blemish the country’s pride and prestige… We all appeal farmer brothers to not disrupt the Republic day event.”
The signatories include Lt. Gen. D.P. Vats, Lt. Gen. Vishnu Kant Chaturvedi, Brigadier Bhuvnesh Chaudhary, Brigadier K.L. Singh, Colonel R.K. Bagga, Chief Warden (Civil Defence) Mohit Sharma, Navy Commander V.M. Tyagi and Lieutenant U.S. Bora, among others.
Sit-ins by women farmers
As protesting farmers observed women farmers’ day (mahila kisan divas) in Punjab, women members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) staged sit-ins at Dhanaula village in Barnala district, the native village of BJP leader Harjeet Singh Grewal, and Kathera village in Fazilka district, the native village of BJP leader Surjeet Kumar Jyani.
General secretary of the BKU(U) Sukhdev Singh said that both the BJP leaders had been making anti-farmer statements only to appease their central leadership. “These BJP leaders have been making statements to defame the peasant leaders and farmers’ struggle. Farmers will continue to stage protests against the BJP leaders till the farm laws are withdrawn,” he added.