Farmers balancing presence at protest site, care of crops

In a bid to tend to their farms or unwind from the face-off with the police, few farmers from adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh leave the protest site at the Ghazipur border with Delhi at night to return home and return to join the siege the next morning or few days later.The situation is evident from the fluctuation in the number of protesters at the site every day. The crowd drastically swells up on days when the discussions are scheduled

New Delhi : In a bid to tend to their farms or unwind from the face-off with the police, few farmers from adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh leave the protest site at the Ghazipur border with Delhi at night to return home and return to join the siege the next morning or few days later.The situation is evident from the fluctuation in the number of protesters at the site every day. The crowd drastically swells up on days when the discussions are scheduled with the government, while on others, the protest site looks dull with only small batches raising slogans.A farmer from Hapur, who wished not to be named, said: “Some farmers have their own vehicles and travel back home at night and return in the morning to join the protest.”Amandeep Singh, a 32-year-old farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit, also said that “two out of ten farmers” go back home every day, either to tend to their farms or collect something and return in few days.Another farmer revealed that there is an established system wherein if a batch of people return home from the site, another vehicle carrying people is sent to the site.”For example, if 10 people leave the protest site, 10 more will be sent here. I, along with my four brothers have come here with one years’ ration and will not leave come what may,” Karamjeet Singh added.
Speaking to IANS, Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of Bharat Kisan Union, which is spearheading the protest at the site, said: “People are coming and going as we have asked them not to leave farming. Farmers go back home on their tractors and come back again in two-three days. It works on rotation.”He, however, emphasised that farmers and union leaders, who have turned back home, are vigilant and have kept an eye on their discussions with the government. “As and when required, they will be called in large numbers,” the BKU spokesperson said.The locus of the protest remained dull on Monday, with small batches of farmers protesting on the Delhi-Meerut Highway, while others slept on their tractors, played cards, distributed langar food or made their food or otherwise, stood idle on the road.Thousands of farmers have been protesting on different borders of the national capital against the three newly-enacted farm laws from the last 12 days. As several rounds of talks with the government went futile, the farmers had called for a nationwide strike on December 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.The farmers are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws, expressing apprehension that they would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.The government has, however, maintained that the laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of “misleading” farmers.

 

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