As the farmers’ protest intensifies at the national capital and a national bandh scheduled for Tuesday, support has been rolling in from various parts of the country to the protestors. Thousands of farmers are now moving to the Delhi borders in solidarity with the protests, and the agitators have threatened with blocking the major routes into the capital.
The farmers are also planning to occupy the major tollbooths, thus choking a critical revenue source for the Centre. Apart from farmers, students, activists and others will be joining the fray as well as with support from various trade organisations, state governments — including the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government — and various political outfits. Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal, alongside other ministers of his cabinet, joined the farmers at the Singhu border to examine the situation.
In regards to this, the Delhi police have proposed alternative routes for travellers, since the farmers have already occupied the Singhu and Tikri borders. The protestors have also gathered at the Ghazipur border, which is mainly occupied by farmers from Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, the police have declared Section 144 in Noida, citing the Covid pandemic. However, this is also considering the fact that more members will be joining the protesting farmers at the border.
Meanwhile, as part of the ‘award wapsi’ movement happening across the country in solidarity with the farmers’ struggle, Olympian boxer Vijender Singh has threatened to return his Khel Ratna. He had said that he would be returning his award if the Centre doesn’t repeal the three farm laws. “I come from a family of farmers and army men,” he said, addressing the protestors at the Singhu border, “I can understand their pain and anxiety. It is high time that the government listen to the protestors and repeal the black laws.” Apart from Vijender, wrestler Kartar Singh, basketball player Sajjan Singh Cheema, and hockey player Rajbir Kaur have also threatened to return their Arjuna awards.
In Haryana, the Jananayak Janata Party — a coalition partner of the BJP government — has been pressuring the state. JJP MLAs Amarjeet Dhanda and Ram Kumar Gautam had come out to support the farmers. Meanwhile, many khaps have also decided to boycott MLAs and MPs who have made problematic statements against the farmers, as well as actress Kangana Ranaut.
The fifth round of talks between the ministers and the farmers yielded no result since the legislators have expressed their unwillingness to roll back the controversial farm laws. The agitating farmers declared that they would not agree to anything less than a complete repeal of the three laws. While Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had clarified the government’s position, the farmers followed a silent protest holding up placards with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ written on them to express their stand. The government invited the farmers for another round of talks on December 9, and the Bharath bandh is scheduled for December 8.