Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Until last week, the gathering at Singhu border was thin. On Friday, however, the scene at the farmer agitation site was exactly like last year at this time. The crowds were back, with farmers of all ages, women and children arriving in massive numbers to mark the first anniversary of their protest. There was no space to set foot. Numbers of langar sewas, medical camps, blood donation camps and ambulance services at the site have gone up.
Street hawkers are thronging the area again. Student organisations and activists, too, flocked to the site. And various farmer union flags, posters and banners dotted the whole area. What had changed completely from last year is the mood. While there was anger and anguish last year over the farm laws, this time the crowd is celebrating the repeal of the contentious legislations. Sweets were generously distributed to everyone, including passersby, and slogans hailing the farmers’ struggle were raised.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana, especially women, were seen in large numbers. While the elderly were sitting near the stage listening to farmer leaders, the younth were taking out a march raising slogans.
“My father is a farmer and we have a small shop of herbal drinks which helps in controlling blood sugar level, blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. Earlier only my father used to come to take part in the protest against the farm laws. This time, my mother and all of us requested him to take us. We make fresh energy drinks and give to the people and farmers for free here,” said Rabjyot Singh, a 10-year-old from Moga in Punjab.
Naseeb Kaur, a 70-year-old from Punjab, said, “We are happy that the government has decided to repeal the farm laws, but we are waiting for them to pass it in Parliament. I came earlier also, but returned due to my health condition. But today is one year, and we want to show the government that the farmers are still in full spirit and ready to fight for their demands.” Meenu, 39, from Haryana said, “I appreciate PM Modi’s decision but the false charges and FIRs registered against our farmer brothers should also be taken back.”