NEW DELHI: Farmers protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws observed a ‘Black Day’ on Wednesday to mark the completion of six months of their agitation at the borders of the national capital. Thousands of farmers from neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh gathered at Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and other borders areas gathered under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) carrying black flags on tractor-trolleys and tents.
They also burnt effigies of the Modi government at various protest sites. “Seven years ago, on May 26, Narendra Modi became the prime minister and we are observing a black day today against him and his government,” the farmers said. Addressing the protest at Ghazipur, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said that the protest on roads is a fundamental right and will continue till government rolls back the three controversial farm laws. “If laws can be made during the Covid pandemic, then why cannot they be repealed during the pandemic,” Tikait, the BKU national spokesperson, said.
The crowd at at Ghazipur border, which was not observing Covid-behaviour, raised slogans against the central government. A ruckus briefly ensued between protestors and the local police who had tried to stop them from burning the effigy at the UP Gate below the Delhi- Meerut Expressway. The Delhi Police too had urged people not to hold gatherings due to the Covid-19 situation and the ongoing lockdown.
The SKM, a umbrella body of farmers, issued a statement saying The farmers will not step back until their demands are met. “The Modi government is warned yet again that farmers are not going to retreat from this agitation until their demands are fully met. As the days and months go by, their resolve is only growing stronger, and their support base only expanding,” said the Samyukta Kisan Morcha in a statement. “Even though the farmers’ agitation has had to continue for six long months so far with many hardships including the martyrdom of more than 470 farmers so far, the protesters are prepared to continue for however longer it take,” said the statement further.
“The Central govt may blame us and defame us for spreading corona or everything and use police force on us but we are not going anywhere,” it said. “The farmers leaders gathered at all the borders have decided to strengthen the protest in the coming days. It has been six months but nothing has happened from governments end. So, our protest will be silent and strong,” said Paramjeet Katyal of SKM.
Other democratic and left organisations like Student Federation of India, All India Student Association (AISA) and many common people supported the farmers online through social media sites with posting black flags. Several opposition parties have lent full support to the agitation. The farmers are demanding the rollback of three farm laws brought into force by the Centre. Thousands of protesting farmers reached Delhi borders on November 26 last year to protest against the laws.
Ruckus over burning effigy
A ruckus briefly ensued between protestors and the local police who had tried to stop them from burning the effigy at the UP Gate below the Delhi-Meerut Expressway near Ghazipur.