Farmers stage protests at Jantar Mantar, assert they will not leave Delhi till three farm laws are repealed

Farmers from 600 farmers’ unions participating in the agitation at Delhi’s borders will come to Jantar Mantar to demonstrate on each working day of the monsoon session of Parliament

Farmers stage protests at Jantar Mantar, assert they will not leave Delhi till three farm laws are repealed
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Ashlin Mathew

Eight months after the farmers reached the Delhi border in protest against the enactment of three farm laws by the Centre, the government was forced to allow 200 farmers’ representatives to protest at Jantar Mantar. The area had turned into a police fortress by the morning.

At least 200 farmers who had been expected to reach by 10.30 am were able to reach only by 12.30 pm as they were stopped several times along the route by the police. “Who do the police think they are? Why are they so suspicious of us? We are farmers’ representatives, but they treated us like criminals.

We are just representing crores of farmers who will be affected by the farm laws. As citizens of this country, can’t we come to Parliament to raise our concerns?” said Hannan Mollah, a leader of All Indian Kisan Sabha. The 'Kisan Sansad', near Parliament, will attempt to pressure the government to repeal the three contentious farm laws.

The agitating farmers, who have been protesting against the Centre’s farm laws at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders since November 2020, plan to protest and hold sessions at Jantar Mantar on each working day of Parliament until the monsoon session ends. The leaders said the government was forced to give them permission because they have to listen to farmers. “We are hoping they will listen to us. Children of human being will listen to our issues and troubles, but offspring of animals will not. Let's see what they are," added Mollah.

"This is a win for farmers, said farmer leader Jasbir Kaur Natt. "They have been forced to listen to us. We have been here for eight months. The Union government cannot ignore us forever", asserted Natt.

The farmers had written to MPs to take up the issue in Parliament, but the government doesn’t want to listen, Mollah said. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said he doesn’t know why the government allowed them to protest near Parliament now.

“But the government has to allow us at some point. How can they stop us? We are not going anywhere. This is our Capital too. Unless the government repeals all the three farm laws and creates a new law on minimum support price for grains, we are not leaving the borders. It may take another few months or a year, but we are here to stay. This is a matter of our lives and that of our future generations. Farmers need to be able to earn a stable income,” said Tikait.

"If this was a government of the people, then it would have listened to us. The issue of three contentious farm laws would have been solved. This government is running a company, not a government," underscored Tikait.

"This government plays games in several statesIn Uttar Uttar Pradesh, they play Hindu-Muslim politics, in Haryana Jat and non-Jat," added Tikait.


Women farmers at the Kisan Sansad
Farmers stage protests at Jantar Mantar, assert they will not leave Delhi till three farm laws are repealed
Farmers stage protests at Jantar Mantar, assert they will not leave Delhi till three farm laws are repealed
Farmers during Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar
Farmers from Kerala at Kisan Sansad, Jantar Mantar

The government has to listen to farmers, said Tikait, and now they have reached within walking distance of Parliament. “They cannot ignore us,” asserted Tikait. With the farmers protesting under the shadow of the Pegasus surveillance scandal, several farmers said they were worried that the government was snooping on them too. “This government has no scruples. They are likely to be snooping on us too,” said farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka.

There were farmers from Pubjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, among others. During the next few days, farmers from 600 farmers’ unions participating in the agitation at the three borders will come to Jantar Mantar.

This is the first time since the tractor rally on January 26, when violence broke out in the National Capital, that authorities have permitted the farmers to hold protests within the capital region. Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal had given permission for a demonstration by 200 farmers at Jantar Mantar till August 9.

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Published: 22 Jul 2021, 5:53 PM